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South Whidbey man dies in van accident

"A 1985 graduate of South Whidbey High School died in a traffic accident in Skagit County early Sunday morning.Brian Lloyd Heggenes, 33, of Freeland, was a passenger in a 1984 Chevrolet van driven by Craig R. Masters, 32, of Greenbank.According to the Washington State Patrol, the van failed to negotiate a curve to the left and struck the edge of the roadway, rolling over into a swampy area.Bob Clark, Skagit Valley deputy coroner, said Tuesday that Heggenes apparently died of exposure. An autopsy ruled out drowning, although he was partially in the water. The autopsy was not definitive, and drowning is definitive, Clark said. It appears to be a matter of exposure. It was a difficult extrication, it took about an hour.Masters, contacted at his home Tuesday, said neither he nor Heggenes had been drinking. There was no drinking or anything going on, he said. The two old high school friends were going to Masters' brother-in-law's house located near a casino. They planned to visit the casino the next morning.Masters lost control of his van on Alger Cain Lake Road at 1:05 a.m. He said a wheel caught the real soft shoulder of the road, and it sucked us into the ditch.It's not anybody's fault, Masters said. At least that's what they keep telling me.Masters said he and Heggenes had both unbuckled their seat belts because they were so near their destination. After the wreck, they were talking. He kept saying he's fine, he just couldn't get out, Masters said. I tried to get him out, but without success.Police officers helped Masters out of the vehicle and paramedics arrived to try to help Heggenes out.The paramedics didn't get him out in time, Masters said. Although the vehicle was not under water, there was water inside and Masters said it was very cold. He couldn't estimate how much time elapsed because of the traumatic situation.Funeral services for Brian Heggenes will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, May 11 at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Clinton. He leaves his wife, a 2-year-old son, and many other local relatives. See page 5 for an obituary.The Tyler Heggenes Account to benefit Brian's son has been established at Whidbey Island Bank. "

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