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Crash shuts down highway near Freeland

A 2006 Toyota Prius rests on its side after it was involved in a multiple car accident at Highway 525 and Double Bluff Road. Firefighters work to extract the driver, also a firefighter and EMT with Fire District 3, and a passenger through the windshield using an electric saw.  - Spencer Webster
A 2006 Toyota Prius rests on its side after it was involved in a multiple car accident at Highway 525 and Double Bluff Road. Firefighters work to extract the driver, also a firefighter and EMT with Fire District 3, and a passenger through the windshield using an electric saw.
— image credit: Spencer Webster

FREELAND — Three cars tangled at Highway 525 at Double Bluff Road in Freeland early Monday afternoon, causing one vehicle to roll over multiple times and a highway closure for more than an hour.

It was a case of Fire District 3 aiding its own as firefighters extracted Jon Gabelein, teacher and volunteer firefighter and passenger Wilbur Perdue, from Gabelein’s 2006 Toyota Prius Hybrid using an electric saw.

Paul Hunsaker, a firefighter and EMT, was approaching Highway 525 on Double Bluff Road and witnessed the accident as it happened and began rendering aid right away.

“A black Volkswagon was turning left, was stopped and had its wheels turned to the left,” Hunsaker said. “Another vehicle did not stop in time and hit it, and pushed the Volkswagon in front of Jon Gabelein’s car. The next thing you know, they were rolling up on their side. It was a chain reaction accident.”

After Gabelein and Perdue were freed, they were able to walk away from the accident with little or no injuries, thanks to seat restraints and air bags, said Mike Cotton, assistant FD3 fire chief.

“Side airbags deployed; passenger restraints worked and they both walked away from a rolled over vehicle,” Cotton said. “They are pretty sore this morning I suspect.”

The driver of the black Volkswagon was transported to Whidbey General Hospital after being removed from her car, Cotton said, but her injuries were unknown.

“It is a small community and accidents can happen to anyone,” he said. “It is ironic that a firefighter was on scene right away, that it happened at that particular moment and that one of our members was involved in the accident. Amazingly enough, the car held together and gave its life for the occupants.”

Spencer Webster can be reached at 221-5300 or at swebster@southwhidbeyrecord.com

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