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Coroner rules on woman’s death at Anacortes ferry terminal

A tow truck lifts a white Jeep Cherokee vehicle out of the water at the Washington State Ferries terminal, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, in Anacortes, Wash. Authorities say a 30-year-old woman from Everett died after she drove her Jeep Cherokee through a barrier and off a dock at the Washington State Ferries terminal at Anacortes.
A tow truck lifts a white Jeep Cherokee vehicle out of the water at the Washington State Ferries terminal, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, in Anacortes, Wash. Authorities say a 30-year-old woman from Everett died after she drove her Jeep Cherokee through a barrier and off a dock at the Washington State Ferries terminal at Anacortes. Skagit Valley Herald

The Skagit County coroner has determined the cause of death for the woman whose vehicle plunged into the water last month at the Washington State Ferries terminal in Anacortes.

Nicole K. Barney drowned, Coroner Hayley Thompson said.

Barney, 30, of Everett, died Jan. 25 after her 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee sped from the ferry terminal’s staging area and down the loading ramp, where it crashed through a crossing arm and into the water about 9:35 a.m.

Divers recovered the Barney’s body while a tow truck pulled the vehicle from the water. The vehicle was located in 41-foot-deep water near where it went off the dock, Washington State Patrol trooper Heather Axtman said. No one else was in the vehicle.

There was no ferry docked at the time.

Investigators are still working to determine what caused the Jeep to go into the water, trooper Kevin Fortino said.

Neither State Patrol nor the coroner have ruled out mechanical failure, but Fortino said there were no active recall notices for the vehicle.

“I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to clearly say what happened,” Thompson said. “She clearly died of drowning, we just don’t know why.”

There was no visible trauma on Barney’s body, Thompson said.

Toxicology reports are pending, she said.

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