Driver who knocked out cell service charged

An Anacortes man is accused of fleeing from the scene of a vehicle collision that disrupted cell phone and Internet service on Whidbey Island and knocked out power in an area of Skagit County last week, according to court documents.

On Jan. 8, a hit-and-run crash involving a blue van was reported at about 11:30 p.m. on Campbell Lake Road near Highway 20 in Skagit County, according to the Washington State Patrol. The van struck power poles, “damaging fiber-optic cables and causing a phone and internet service outage for Whidbey Island area Frontier Communications customers,” according to a Frontier spokesperson.

In addition, power went out for about 1,860 customers, Puget Sound Energy reported.

Prosecutors charged the suspect in the case, 22-year-old Carson B. Buckles, in Island County Superior Court Jan. 13 with assault in the third degree, driving under the influence, hit and run, reckless endangerment and possession of a stolen vehicle.

Soon after the collision, a trooper with the State Patrol noticed a blue minivan with severe front-end damage was smoking heavily as it traveled on the highway on North Whidbey. Smoke was pouring out of the passenger compartment, which was consistent with airbag deployment, the trooper wrote in his report on the case.

The trooper pulled the minivan over near the intersection with Troxell Road and contacted Buckles, who was driving, and a 14-year-old passenger who appeared intoxicated. The trooper noted that Buckles’ speech was slurred and an odor intoxicants was emanating from the van.

The trooper called for backup after Buckles refused to get into the patrol car and began acting erratically, but he was unable to contact dispatch because the crash had taken out cell phone service.

Buckles became “very hostile” and spit in the trooper’s face, the report states. The trooper was able to get Buckles to the ground after a struggle and other officers finally arrived to assist.

The trooper wrote that Buckles continued to act aggressive at the jail and threatened to slice his throat.

In Island County Superior Court Jan. 9, the judge set Buckles’ bail at $10,000.

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