Detectives await DNA results in possible Oak Harbor vehicular homicide

The Island County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate an unusual North Whidbey death as a possible case of vehicular homicide.

DNA tests, which may help to establish who was driving the car, are pending from the Washington State Patrol’s crime lab, according to Detective Ed Wallace. The lab is also testing blood and hair recovered from the undercarriage of the car in question, according to a search warrant application.

The resident of a house on Highway 20 south of Oak Harbor reported at 10:20 a.m., Jan. 31 that she found the body of Anthony Herrmann, 55, in the horseshoe-shaped driveway. Police reports indicate that the caller and victim both lived at the address, though court records indicate their relationship was complicated and troubled.

Herrmann’s injuries were consistent with being struck by a vehicle and dragged a short distance, according to the search warrant application.

Island County Coroner Robert Bishop determined that the cause of death was blunt force injury to the torso and extremities due to pedestrian-versus-motor-vehicle collision.

The injuries are consistent with Herrmann being driven over by a car at a low speed and crushed between the vehicle’s undercarriage and driveway, according to a search warrant application. Herrmann’s leg was broken and pelvis crushed.

Herrmann did not die right away, Bishop said, though he declined to provide a time of death.

Detectives secured a search warrant on a blue 2004 Jaguar XC4 belonging to the resident who reported finding the body. Upon a visual inspection of the undercarriage, a detective noticed what appeared to be blood and possible hair or fibers on the rear differential, the search warrant application states.

Detectives secured the car and called the crime lab team to process it for evidence.

Investigators also obtained a search warrant to swab the interior of the Jaguar and test for possible DNA evidence.

Police reports from previous criminal cases state that Herrmann and the homeowner had an on-again, off-again relationship that was troubled and violent because of Herrmann’s serious alcohol problem.

Herrmann has a long history of felony crimes in Island County. All but two of the cases involve crimes that occurred at the residence where his body was recovered. He was arrested at least eight times for violating no-contact orders that barred him from the house, though he apparently was allowed to live in a travel trailer on the property at different times, according to police reports.

In two cases, Herrmann committed unprovoked assaults on people visiting the home. In 2014, he was arrested for allegedly hitting a man with a shovel. In 2006, he struck a 16-year-old girl in the face.

In each of the criminal cases, police officers reported that Herrmann was intoxicated.

Court records show Herrmann was at the VA hospital in Seattle at one point for rehab. A 2012 report from Harborview Medical Center stated that he suffered a skull fracture and hematoma after falling from a bicycle. Another report stated that, for about two weeks in 2014, he was committed to Western State Hospital, a psychiatric facility.