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Wreck slows traffic on Highway 20
A lane of Highway 20 near San de Fuca was closed to traffic for nearly an hour Monday following a two-car collision that sent one person to the hospital.
The accident occurred at about 12:10 p.m. just north of Arnold Road. According to Washington State Patrol Trooper Chris Merwin, British Columbia resident Artur Pasternak, 40, was northbound on Highway 20 when his vehicle was struck from behind.
Pasternak, who was driving a 1989 Suzuki Sidekick modified for extreme off-roading, was behind another car that was attempting to make a left turn when his vehicle was rear-ended by a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT, Merwin said.
The driver of the vehicle was identified as Langley resident Kyle Gauthier, 27. Also in the car was Freeland resident Robert Burns, 23, and a dog. Neither Gauthier nor Burns were injured in the collision.
Pasternak was transported to Whidbey General Hospital for what Merwin said appeared to be a precautionary measure. A hospital spokeswoman confirmed that the man was treated and released from the emergency department the same day.
Less clear is the fate of the dog, a 9-month-old redbone coonhound named Joe. The animal ran away after the accident and was still missing more than an hour later. It’s unknown how the animal got out of the car but a witness reported seeing it running down the road after Gauthier’s vehicle before it had even come to a complete stop.
The dog may have jumped out of an open window just after the collision or been ejected; which is true is unknown.
According to Merwin, Gauthier said he was traveling at about 50 mph at the time of the collision. His vehicle suffered heavy damage to its front end and had to be towed away. Pasternak’s car, which was outfitted with an external roll-cage, appeared to have fared better but was also towed.
Merwin said Gauthier was cited for “driving too fast to avoid a collision.”