Two men dead in crash on Highway 9 near Van Zandt identified

Two men were killed early Tuesday morning, Oct. 7, when their pickup truck collided with another pickup that had swerved to avoid a deer on Highway 9, the Washington State Patrol said.

Trooper Mark Francis said Ricky L. Hamilton, 56, from Glacier and Robert B. Demme, 50, from Maple Falls were killed when two men in a Ford F-350 pickup swerved to avoid a deer and struck their Toyota pickup coming from the other direction at about 5:45 a.m.

Hamilton, who was driving the 2000 Toyota Tundra, had his seat belt on, but Demme, the passenger, did not, troopers said.

The driver of the Ford pickup, Dane L. Johnson, 23, of Lyman and passenger Derek R. Schuyler, 28, of Sedro-Woolley told troopers that a deer ran out in front of their vehicle from the right between Potter and Nelson roads as they were headed north on Highway 9. Johnson swerved to the left into the oncoming lane to avoid the deer and slammed into the Toyota pickup.

Francis said all four men involved in the crash were loggers.

Johnson and Schuyler were wearing seat belts and were unhurt. No drugs are alcohol were involved, Francis said. The crash remains under investigation.

There was some low-lying fog in the area and roads were damp when the crash occurred.

Highway 9 was blocked in both directions until shortly after 11 a.m., according to the Department of Transportation.

Hamilton wearing his seat belt was corrected Dec. 2, 2014.