News

Crash due to alcohol

Two well-known South End business people were injured in a crash Sunday evening.

Washington State Patrol troopers said alcohol and excessive speed were factors in a crash just before 7 p.m. on Goss Lake and Traverse roads near Langley.

The driver, however, claimed he swerved to avid hitting a deer.

Leroy E. Olsen III, 47,

of Freeland was driving a 2008 Audi R8 southbound on Goss Lake Road. As his car came around a left-hand bend, he lost control of the Audi and it left the road, according to a State Patrol incident report on the crash. The vehicle then hit a telephone poll before striking a tree.

The car was smashed in about 18 inches on the passenger side, said Sgt. Jason Longoria of the Washington State Patrol.

Olsen’s passenger Kim Blain, 43, of Greenbank broke her pelvis bone and was rushed to Whidbey General Hospital, Longoria said.

Olsen was also hurt and a bit shaken up, Longoria said. He, too, was sent to Whidbey General Hospital.

Both Blain, of PayLess Foods in Freeland, and Olsen, who has run fireworks shows on the South End, were wearing their seat belts.

The State Patrol said alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.

“There was alcohol observed by officers at the scene and in the hospital. A blood draw was done that is being evaluated by a toxicologist,” Longoria said, who investigated the scene of the crash.

Troopers arrested Olsen on suspicion of DUI and he was booked into Island County Jail, Longoria said.

“This wasn’t an accident; somebody made a conscious decision to drink and then walk over to a car and drive,” he said.

Longoria added that even though most collisions that kill have been alcohol-related, people continue to drive under the influence.

“I see this time and time again. People die from this stuff,” he said.

“We had 51 DUI arrests this year as of March 15. That’s

32 percent up from last year,” Longoria said.

Speed may also have been a factor. The speed limit on Goss Lake Road is 40 mph, and the Audi involved in the crash has a rear spoiler that is hidden but automatically comes up if the car excels to more than 60 mph.

Longoria said the spoiler was up when troopers found the car.

However, there is no conclusive evidence that Olsen was actually going that fast at the time of the crash, Longoria said. The spoiler doesn’t retrieve once it’s up until the car slows down to about 20 mph.

But Longoria added that other evidence also points to excessive speed. There were no brake marks on the road, he said.

Also, when the car hit a tree before it came to a stop, it still hit with a significant impact.

“It snapped a 12-inch

diameter fir tree,” he said.

Record reporter Spencer

Webster contributed to this report.

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