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South Whidbey crashes send two to hospital

South Whidbey Fire/EMS officials talk after a one-car crash on Bayview Road Thursday. - Justin Burnett / The Record
South Whidbey Fire/EMS officials talk after a one-car crash on Bayview Road Thursday.
— image credit: Justin Burnett / The Record

Two people involved in two unrelated car accidents on South Whidbey were sent to the hospital Thursday.

According to the Washington State Patrol, James Harris, 33, and Kristi Etzell, age unknown, were both transported to Whidbey General Hospital. A hospital official confirmed that both were treated and released the same day.

The first accident occurred on Bayview Road at about 8:30 a.m. Harris was northbound in a Jeep Cherokee and approaching Howard Road when his vehicle veered across the opposing lane of traffic and into heavy brush and trees.

South Whidbey Fire/EMS officials said a witness traveling in the southbound lane reported the vehicle appeared to swerve for no apparent reason.

“We suspect he had a medical condition that caused the accident,” Deputy Chief Jon Beck said.

An ambulance crew arrived on the scene and pulled the man from the vehicle, and he was then transported to Whidbey General Hospital.

Washington State Trooper Norm Larsen said Thursday the official cause of the accident was still under investigation and that no citations had yet been issued. He said Harris’s registered address is Langley.

The second collision occurred at about 4:40 p.m. on Highway 525. A 2007 Toyota Prius was stopped in the southbound lane and preparing to make a left turn onto Double Bluff Road when it was rear-ended by a 2003 Chrysler Sebring.

Trooper Dave Martin confirmed two people were in the Prius, driver Debra Lund, 57 of Greenbank and Etzell, whose area of residence was not immediately available. The Sebring had just one occupant, driver Amanda Lee, 17 of Freeland.

Martin said a third vehicle was initially behind the Prius, but swerved around the vehicle to the right. A second later the Sebring collided with the back of the Prius.

Martin speculated that the accident had the potential to be much worse.

“It was lucky [Lund] did not have her wheels turned to the left,” he said, as the impact would have pushed her vehicle into oncoming traffic.

Lee was cited for driving too fast for conditions, Martin said.

The collision resulted in northbound motorists being detoured onto Double Bluff Road. Southbound traffic was backed up, but remained on Highway 525. The road was cleared by about 6 p.m.

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