A Lake Stevens woman is dead and a Clinton man is facing vehicular homicide charges following a car-versus-moped collision on South Whidbey last night.
The collision occurred around 8:15 p.m. on Memorial Day. Diane Sturlaugson, 69, was pronounced dead at the scene and Clinton resident Jeffrey Lewellen, 30, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to the Washington State Patrol.
Sturlaugson was riding a 2009 black Vespa GTS and was eastbound on Bailey Road when she was struck head-on by a westbound silver 1996 Honda Civic hatchback. A state patrol press memo said the driver, Lewellen, crossed over the centerline.
It’s unclear what happened or what caused the car to swerve.
The damage was extensive and fire officials initially had trouble identifying Sturlaugson’s vehicle.
“It appeared to be a little moped, but it’s hard to tell,” Jon Beck, deputy chief of South Whidbey Fire/EMS, said at the scene.
According to Beck, there may have been two other people in the car with Lewellen. Fire district officials reported seeing the car before the accident with a total of three occupants, and that they may have fled the scene before authorities arrived, Beck said.
Sgt. Mark Francis, spokesman for the Washington State Patrol, couldn’t confirm the report early Tuesday, however.
Lewellen was at the scene sitting down with his head between his knees after the crash. Officers conducted a field sobriety test and took him into custody. He was booked into the Island County Jail on suspicion of vehicular homicide.
Both lanes of Bailey Road were closed for more than one and a half hours.
Beck said it was the end of a taxing Memorial Day for the fire district, with at least one other serious medical incident.
“It’s been a bad day for us,” Beck said.