Oak Harbor man collides with Island County Sheriff's Deputy

An Island County Sheriff
An Island County Sheriff's Deputy patrol SUV rests on the lawn of a Highway 20 home after being struck by a Dodge Stealth driven by Steven Larue, 25, of Oak Harbor early Saturday morning. Neither the deputy nor Larue were injured in the collision.
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

A 25-year-old Oak Harbor man driving a Dodge Stealth collided with Island County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Garden’s Ford Expedition patrol SUV on Highway 20 at Monroe Landing Road early Saturday morning.

Steven Larue lost control while navigating the curve before Monroe Landing Road as he drove west on the highway toward Coupeville, said Washington State Trooper Ed Collins.

Deputy Garden was headed east toward Oak Harbor, saw the oncoming driver and veered to the side in an attempt to avoid a head-on collision.

Garden clocked Larue’s speed at 67 mph in the 50 mph zone before his patrol SUV was struck, according to State Trooper Mark Francis.

Larue’s vehicle hit the driver’s side rear passenger door of the deputy’s SUV and spun it counter clockwise into a light pole, Collins said. The second impact sent the SUV clockwise and onto the front lawn of a Highway 20 home. All three light poles at the Monroe Landing intersection went dark as a result of the impact that knocked over the center pole.

Troopers described both vehicles as totaled.

“Speed was a factor and alcohol was a factor,” Collins said as he reconstructed the accident, which requires photographing the scene, marking the road and measuring the collision to scale.

Larue was booked at the Island County Jail for driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license, driving without insurance and reckless driving. His blood alcohol level was not immediately available.

Neither Larue nor Deputy Garden were injured in the collision that occurred shortly after 1:30 a.m.; however Deputy Neider took Garden to Whidbey General Hospital as a precaution.

“Chris took evasive action and that lessened the effect (of the collision),” said Island County Sheriff Mark Brown, who responded to the scene after receiving a call about the accident despite being off-duty.

The Washington State Patrol, Island County Sheriff’s Office, North Whidbey Fire and Rescue and the Washington State Department of Transportation all responded to the accident, which closed one lane of the highway for more than five hours.

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