Pedestrian killed in hit-and-run accident

Whidbey residents share stories of a local unhoused man who lived in the Freeland area.

Whether they knew him or knew of him, Whidbey residents are sharing stories of Scott Severson, a local unhoused man who lived in the Freeland area and died Friday night.

Severson was struck by a passing car around 8 p.m. on March 29 while walking along Lancaster Road near the intersection with Wahl Road, the Island County Sheriff’s Office reported. The vehicle that struck the 67-year-old did not stop. An investigation into the cause of the collision is ongoing.

Many were saddened to hear of Severson’s death.

“In my opinion, Scott ‘Scotty’ Severson was a nice man. Everyone says so,” Freeland resident Tamara Mackner said. “May he rest in peace. I loved Scotty.”

Others shared memories of Severson’s gentle character and his heart of gold.

Cindy Buchanan, who ran the Whidbey Island Angels Resource Center in downtown Freeland, said Severson came in frequently for help, but also donated money to the center when he could.

“When he came in, he was never rude,” she said. “He was always really pleasant, and he was always really friendly. Never demanding. He was just a regular person in his bad luck days.”

Buchanan believes he may have been walking to his camp the night he was killed. She said Severson had been living out in the elements since the travel trailer he was living in caught on fire eight months ago. She has lived on the island for the past 44 years and remembers Severson from when he used to work at a flooring store in Freeland that is now closed.

“I’m pretty sure he was here before me,” she said.

She has fond memories of him playing the harmonica outside of the resource center and talking to her husband. He was especially happy to receive a new pair of shoes.

“He really wore those shoes proudly,” she said. “He was actually a very kind guy.”

To thank her for her generosity, Severson wrote Buchanan a poem a few months ago about the contagiousness of a smile. She has it framed on the wall of her home.

“Smile for it’s contagious. The most contagious thing I know. Turn your frown upside down to help the world glow. Turn that frown upside down and pass it around.”

The sheriff’s office and the Washington State Patrol are conducting an investigation into Severson’s death. Anyone who may have information regarding the case is asked to contact the sheriff’s office via the ICOM dispatch center at 360-679-9567 or via e-mail at