A 72-year-old man who died in a crash near Custer this week was likely drinking and driving, the Whatcom County medical examiner said Wednesday, Sept. 5.
The official cause of the crash is pending a toxicology report. But initial tests showed Joel T. Crowley, who was killed in the three-vehicle crash, had alcohol in his bloodstream, said Dr. Gary Goldfogel.
Crowley was driving a 1993 Toyota Corolla north on Custer School Road about 6:35 p.m. Monday when he rolled through a stop sign at Birch Bay-Lynden Road and collided with an eastbound 2005 GMC Yukon with three people inside, including a 1-year-old boy.
The Corolla and the Yukon careened into a 2010 Ford Mustang headed west.
Crowley was killed on impact.
The 33-year-old driver of the Yukon was taken to St. Joseph hospital. A 61-year-old passenger in the Mustang suffered a cracked sternum but was treated at the hospital and released, her son Kit Fitzsimmons said. Fitzsimmons' father was hurt but declined medical aid.
Nobody else was injured. Everybody involved was wearing a seatbelt.
Fitzsimmons, a passenger in the Mustang, said the Corolla didn't seem to be going too fast through the intersection. He guessed it was only moving at 10 mph. He was sure, however, the car hadn't come to a complete stop at the busy two-way intersection. The speed limit on that stretch of Birch Bay-Lynden is 50 mph.
The Corolla and the Yukon were totaled, and the Mustang had to be towed from the scene. Traffic was detoured for about two hours.
Crowley lived a few blocks from the crash, on Youngs Road. Goldfogel added that no other medical cause - for example, a heart attack or stroke - caused Crowley to go through the stop sign.
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