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UPDATED: Two in Oak Harbor motorcycle crash airlifted to Harborview

Emergency personnel prepare one of the crash victims for an airlift to Harborview Medical Center  - Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times
Emergency personnel prepare one of the crash victims for an airlift to Harborview Medical Center
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

James Carson, 41, and Rhonda Reed, 42, of Ferndale were airlifted from the North Whidbey Middle School athletic field Sunday night following a motorcycle-versus-truck accident in Oak Harbor.

A small 1994 Toyota Pickup truck, driven by 20-year-old Jeremy Palmer of Oak Harbor, struck Carson and Reed as he attempted a left turn into the Taco Bell parking lot from the center, southbound turn lane of Highway 20.

Palmer apparently didn't see the motorcycle that was headed northbound on the inside lane. He tried to stop, but it was too late, according to Lt. John Dyer.

The collision occurred at approximately 5:15 p.m.

Palmer, who was uninjured, may be cited for "failure to yield," Dyer said, adding "There was no indication of negligence ... alcohol was not a factor."

Carson and Reed were "conscious and responsive" when emergency personnel arrived, Dyer said. Both sustained broken bones from the crash.

Highway 20 was closed for a couple of hours while officials photographed the scene and took measurements. Washington State Troopers and Island County Sheriff's Deputies also assisted with the incident.

Two helicopters, one from Arlington Airfield, the other from Bellingham Airfield, flew Carson and Reed to Harborview Medical Center. Three ambulance units were also at the scene.

The "helos" touched down, one at a time, on the grass in the center of the school's running track.

The first helo took off shortly after 6 p.m. with Carson. Reed, whose injuries were less severe, rode on the second helicopter.

Wallin said everything went as planned. The Oak Harbor Fire Department marked the makeshift landing area, a grassy field inside the running track, with special low-level, blinking green and blue lights.

The medical airlift was a first from the North Whidbey Middle School campus, said Fire Captain Bob Wallin.

There are several designated sites around the city that can be used for helicopter landing pads in case of emergency, according to Dyer.

"It's been a long time," Dyer said of the last medical airlift within city limits. "I can't recall another airlift from Oak Harbor in the last decade."

As of Monday morning, Carson remained in intensive care in "serious" condition. Reed also remained at the hospital in "satisfactory" condition.

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