News

Accident on State Route 18 kills two

Traffic on State Route 18 south of Snoqualmie Ridge and Interstate

90 was brought to a standstill last Tuesday morning, Sept. 21, by a

horrific accident which left two men dead and blocked traffic for nearly six hours.

According to the Washington State Patrol, the accident occurred at

about 5:46 a.m. at a point approximately one-half mile southwest of the

interchange. An eastbound 1987 Toyota Supra driven by Omar D. Perry,

24, of Silverton, Colo., passed a Ford van driven by Aaron P. Boyer-Beller

of Port Orchard at a high rate of speed. Perry apparently lost control of

his vehicle, went off the roadway to the right, then swerved back into the

westbound lane, where he collided with a Freightliner tractor-trailer driven

by James H. Rairdan of Ellensburg. Boyer-Beller's Ford then collided

with the wrecked Toyota.

Perry and his passenger, Sheldon D. Turner, 25, of Bellevue, were

killed at the scene. Investigating officers and Eastside Fire and Rescue

personnel were unable to determine if the victims were wearing their seatbelts,

due to the condition of the car and the victims.

The force of the collision was enough to total the semi, but

Rairdan- who was belted - escaped with a minor injury to his lower right leg.

Boyer-Beller- also wearing a seatbelt - escaped without injury, although

his truck was severely damaged.

Eastside Fire and Rescue units from North Bend and Issaquah

responded and arrived on the scene about eight to 10 minutes after

the accident, said Deputy Chief John Fallstrom.

"One was DOA when we got there," he commented last

Wednesday. "The second ... both were removed from the vehicle for evaluation.

The second victim we treated for a period, and then he was declared dead.

His injuries were significantly critical. He just didn't have a chance.

"They were not ejected from the vehicle. Both of the other drivers

were examined and left at the scene."

State Route 18 - which serves as a primary conduit between I-90,

Tacoma and the Green River Valley communities of Auburn and Kent - has a

history of accidents and a reputation for being dangerous, particularly

during the winter. The Washington State Department of Transportation is

currently repaving and widening portions of the road to four lanes, with much of

the current construction focusing on Tiger Mountain summit.

However, according to Brent Olson, a spokesman with

WSDOT, the accident site was the location of some of his department's

repaving work.

"It's being done on a piecemeal basis over a number of years,"

he stated. "Different sections and different times as funding becomes

available. The project is scheduled for completion in 2006."

Olson said the highway was finally reopened for through traffic about

1 p.m.

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