CUSTER A 72-year-old man died at the scene of a three-vehicle crash Monday evening, Sept. 3, north of Custer on Birch Bay-Lynden Road.
Joel T. Crowley was driving a 1993 Toyota Corolla north on Custer School Road about 6:35 p.m., when he didnt stop for a stop sign, according to the Washington State Patrol.
The Corolla was struck by an eastbound 2005 GMC Yukon with a 1-year-old boy inside. The child was not hurt even when the mangled Corolla and the Yukon both spun and smashed into a 2010 Ford Mustang headed west.
Crowley was killed on impact, said Washington State Patrol Trooper Keith Leary. He was wearing a seat belt. Troopers arent sure what caused him to roll through the stop sign.
Kit Fitzsimmons, 26, was in a passenger seat of the Mustang. He said it didnt seem like the Corolla was moving very fast through the intersection. But he could tell it wasnt coming from a complete stop.
I didnt hear any screeching or anything, he said. It was like a snowplow.
Smoke and debris went flying as the Yukon, Corolla and Mustang whammed together in a pileup.
It was kind of a dark moment for a second, Fitzsimmons said. The whole thing was just careening into us.
Fitzsimmons said his mother, 61-year-old Babette Bennett, suffered a cracked sternum. She was treated and released at St. Joseph hospital.
Patrick R. Fitzsimmons, the 62-year-old driver of the Mustang, was hurt but declined to be transported. Kit Fitzsimmons was not injured.
The 33-year-old driver of the Yukon, Heather M. Larson, was taken to St. Joseph hospital. Her two passengers including the child did not need medical aid.
A few neighbors in the area called 911.
Investigators saw no obvious signs of drugs or alcohol in Crowleys car. An autopsy will determine if intoxicants were a factor.
Everybody involved was wearing a seat belt or in a car seat.
Crowley lived just a short distance away on Youngs Road, at the end of Custer School Road.
The speed limit on Birch Bay-Lynden, at the intersection, is 50 mph. Traffic was detoured for more than two hours.
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