Woman dies in Sills Road crash

MAXWELTON — A Seattle woman died Monday when her car went over a wooded embankment on Sills Road, but went missing until a day later when a jogger found her car Tuesday night.

Judith Sherman, 66, was driving northbound in her BMW 323 Cv in the 6700 block of Sills Road on Monday evening and failed to negotiate a curve, the Washington State Patrol said.

When the car left the roadway, the convertible car’s rear quarter panel struck the trunk of a tree, which spun the car in a clockwise fashion, said Joshua Lancaster, a Washington State Patrol trooper.

The car spun and struck an even larger stump on the driver’s side of the vehicle, finally stopping 20 to 25 feet away in heavy vegetation about 12 feet below the roadway.

Though Sills Road is heavily traveled as a main route between Bayview and Maxwelton, the accident wasn’t discovered until approximately 8:30 p.m. Tuesday when a jogger passing by heard a noise and looked over the edge of the roadway.

Lancaster said it appeared that Sherman drove off the road without braking; there were no skid marks on the road and steering marks were found in the roadside gravel.

The driver was not wearing seat restraints and was thrown halfway out of the car.

“The seat belts were pinned inside the door,” Lancaster said. “This is a case in point of the need for wearing seat restraints, and why we look for people not wearing them.”

Sherman died instantly, said Island County Coroner Robert Bishop.

“She died very quickly, within seconds of the crash,” Bishop said.

Bishop determined that the approximate time of death was 24 hours prior to the accident being reported.

Residents along Sills Road say drivers often go too fast on the winding road. The speed limit along Sills Road is 40 mph but drops to 30 mph near the accident scene.

While speed may be a major factor in the accident, the State Patrol did not say if drugs or alcohol were involved or whether the driver was distracted at the time of the accident.

“The accident is still under investigation,” said Lancaster.

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