Speed limit may be lowered near site of fatal crash
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Bryan Crawford, 52, died in Monday's three-vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 101 in the road-widening construction zone between Sequim and Port Angeles.

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — State transportation officials may lower the 55 mph speed limit along a 3.5-mile section of U.S. Highway 101 where Bryan Crawford of Port Angeles was killed Monday in a three-vehicle collision.

John McMahon of Port Angeles, 42, who was a passenger in Crawford's truck, was flown Monday to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle in serious condition.

He was upgraded to satisfactory condition on Tuesday, a Harborview spokeswoman said.

No one else involved was seriously injured, including the 52-year-old Crawford's son Nicholas, 19, who walked away physically unscathed.

Nicholas, one of Crawford's eight children, escaped his father's mangled truck by kicking out a window, family friends Brian and Rachael Durham of Lake Stevens said Tuesday.

The collision might have an effect on the speed limit on that section of Highway 101.

“We have our traffic engineers in the field today, as we speak,” DOT spokeswoman Claudia Bingham Baker said Tuesday.

“We are, in fact, considering lowering the speed limit.

“One of the reasons is that as summer progresses, we'll have much more construction out there.”

The 3.5-mile stretch between Port Angeles and Sequim is being widened to four lanes in a project slated for completion by September 2014.

It's part of a $27 million effort to match the four lanes of Highway 101 that it connects with on either end, though the speed limit stays at 55 on both the two- and four-lane sections.

The Department of Transportation could lower the speed limit “fairly quickly,” Baker said.

“I think it would be timely.

“I don't have any other timeline other than that.”

What that lower speed might be also has not been determined, she added.

State Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, whose 24th District includes Clallam and Jefferson counties and about a third of Grays Harbor County, said Tuesday that lowering the speed limit “would be an appropriate thing to do.”

Van De Wege said he intends to call Transportation to discuss the matter.

The collision, which occurred at about 8:30 a.m. Monday, closed the highway until 2:05 p.m. Monday.

Vehicles were detoured to Old Olympic Highway.

Crawford died at the scene of the crash at the highway's intersection with the private Cliff Robinson Lane near Pierson and Dryke roads.

Winger said the collision occurred as Kayla Walls, 22, of Cedar City, Utah, was driving west in a 1991 Honda Accord and making a left turn across the eastbound lane — a maneuver that won't be allowed when the widening project is completed.

Behind her was Stewart Wyckoff, 28, of Poulsbo, who was driving a 2003 Ford flatbed truck.

Crawford was eastbound, according to a State Patrol report released late Monday.

Earlier, State Patrol reports said Crawford had been traveling westbound behind Walls and Wyckoff.

Wyckoff's truck struck Walls' car in the rear, pushing Walls' vehicle across the centerline and into the eastbound ditch, Winger said.

After the impact, Wyckoff spun into the eastbound lane, striking Crawford's pickup truck, which overturned.

Winger said there is “a high probability” that Wyckoff will receive a traffic citation.

“Normally, the person behind has a big responsibility to slow and drive at a distance where they can avoid contact or take evasive action and avoid contact,” Winger said.

“It's highly likely that the truck that rear-ended the Honda is probably going to be substantially at fault in this.”

Winger said Walls was taken to Olympic Medical Center as a precaution, but OMC had no information on a patient by that name, hospital spokeswoman Bobby Beeman said Tuesday.

Wyckoff was treated and released at OMC.

Corbin Reneman, 20, of Sequim, a passenger in Walls' car, also was treated and released at OMC.

Another rear-end collision near the Sherburne Road intersection along the same stretch of highway April 29 also blocked U.S. 101 in both directions for 15 minutes.

The driver who crashed into the rear end of a utility trailer was cited for second-degree negligent driving-infraction for falling asleep behind the wheel, Winger said.

Crawford's friends and family have set up a memorial fund to help his wife, Mindy, with burial expenses, Brian Durham said Tuesday.

It is at Chase Bank, 101 W. Front St., Port Angeles.

Bryan Crawford's family and friends huddled Tuesday to remember Crawford, who owned Buena Vista Services, a pressure washing-handyman services company, Durham said.

“He was a very laid-back, give-you-the-coat-off-his-back kind of guy,” Durham said, describing Crawford as a longtime Port Angeles resident.

“He loved fishing; he'd do anything to go fishing,” Durham said.

“He wanted everyone to experience that.”

Angelique Meguess of Port Angeles, another family friend, said Crawford was active in Calvary Chapel in Port Angeles and sometimes preached there.

“The most important thing you could say about Bryan is, he loved God,” Meguess said.

“He made his life his family,” she added.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Crawford's son Nicholas was “just kind of still in shock,” Meguess said.

“It just doesn't seem real right now,” Meguess said.

“We all just kind of look around and wait for Bryan to walk through the door.”

Crawford is survived by his wife, Mindy, 38. The two were married Aug. 20, 2005.

Meguess said Crawford also is survived by sons and daughters Sasha Utsinger, 35; Britta Crawford, 30; Daniel Crawford, 26; Caity Crawford, 22; Nicholas Crawford, 19; Ashlan Leith, 17; Patrick Crawford, 14; Josiah Crawford, 6; and grandchild Westen Thomas, 2.

He also is survived by his stepmother, Amelia, and two sisters, Suzette Munson and Tina Lytch.

Funeral services are at 1 p.m. Friday at Independent Bible Church, 112 N. Lincoln St., Port Angeles.

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at paul.gottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 21. 2013 6:12PM
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