UPDATE — Port Angeles driver dies in tractor-trailer crash on state Highway 104 near Hood Canal Bridge
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Russ WInger/Washington State Patrol
The driver of this tractor-trailer was killed when the truck left state Highway 104 west of the Hood Canal bridge and struck several trees.

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT LUDLOW — A Port Angeles truck driver was killed Monday morning when the tractor-trailer he was driving left state Highway 104 near the Hood Canal bridge.

Wayne Eldon Hostetler, 61, died after his blue 2007 Kenworth tractor-trailer hauling a cargo container, left the roadway and struck a large tree, said Russ Winger, State Patrol spokesman.

The single-vehicle wreck happened at about 8:30 a.m., about two miles west of the Hood Canal bridge on the westbound side of the highway.

The crash partly closed the road to traffic for most of the day.

Witness notices swerve

A witness to the wreck stated he saw the truck swerve just before it hit the guardrail and crashed into several trees before coming to a stop, said Keppie Kepplinger, spokeswoman for Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue.

The truck came to rest about 25 feet down an embankment where it hit a large tree.

Medics from Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue, East Jefferson Fire Rescue, Quilcene Fire Department and Naval Magazine Station 91 responded to the wreck and performed CPR on the Port Angeles driver for almost an hour, Kepplinger said.

He was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:14 a.m., she said.

Information on who Hostetler worked for was not immediately available.

Winger said that the truck seemed to have just drifted off the road, and there was no indication the driver attempted to stop the truck.

An autopsy will be performed to determine if Hostetler suffered a “medical event,” or if there were other factors in the wreck, he said.

Drugs or alcohol were not suspected to be a factor in the wreck, according to a State Patrol report.

State Patrol troopers and state Department of Transportation personnel investigated the wreck and managed traffic around the scene.

The road was fully blocked until 10 a.m., when the road was partially reopened to alternating traffic.

Traffic backed up about a mile behind the wreck site, Winger said.

Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: July 21. 2014 7:01PM
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