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Coupeville man killed while walking on Highway 20

A well-known, 77-year-old Coupeville man was struck and killed by a truck early Friday morning as he was making his morning walk to the Tyee Restaurant for a cup of coffee.

Sgt. Jason Longoria with the State Patrol reported that Everett Coffman was walking down the middle of the southbound lane of Highway 20, near the intersection with Ebey Road, when the accident occurred at just after 5:30 a.m.

The driver of a 1977 Ford F250 pickup, 39-year-old Michael Long of Oak Harbor, was on his way to work at Island Disposal when he struck Coffman, who was walking with his back to traffic. According to Longoria, Long slammed on his breaks, but there was no way for him to avoid hitting the elderly man in the darkness of morning. The speed limit on that stretch of highway is 55 mph.

“He’s very shaken,” Longoria said of the driver.

Coffman is known for making the early-morning journey from his home on Broadway to meet his buddies at the Tyee for coffee and maybe some biscuits and gravy. Investigators believe that Coffman probably got confused and thought he was walking on Kettles Trail, which runs along the side of the highway in Central Whidbey.

“He’s just a kind soul and a beautiful man,” said Rebecca Soapes, who has been working at the Tyee for 14 years. She said they would meet at the door of the restaurant at 6 a.m. every morning. If he wasn’t there, she would worry about him.

Soapes joked that she would often fight with Coffman over the comics, especially who would read “Red and Rover” first.

Before retiring, Coffman was a long-time employee at Lumbermens in Coupeville, which is now ProBuild. He was well known in the Coupeville community, where he and his wife Janice were surrounded by family and friends.

Staff reporter Nathan Whalen contributed to this story.

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