T-bone crash strikes Burley-Olalla

Only two weeks into the new year and Burley-Olalla has already had its first serious crash.

The westbound lanes of State Route 16 at Burley-Olalla Road were shut down for only 10 minutes shortly after 6 p.m. last Thursday, but it took police much longer than that to clean up after a T-bone crash that sent an elderly Port Orchard woman to the hospital with serious injuries.

The 80-year-old woman, who was crossing the highway when her car was struck, had to be airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with reported internal injuries.

So far as Washington State Patrol troopers can figure out, the woman was in the median preparing to cross the westbound lanes of SR 16 when her 1997 Mercury Sable was struck on the passenger door by a westbound Ford Econoline van driven by a Burley man.

The Sable was pushed by the force of the collision through the Burley-side stop sign and into an earth berm on the side of the road.

Although the man was uninjured, his van sustained $7,000 damage to its front end and had to be towed away.

The Sable was totalled.

It took nearly an hour for State Patrol to gather staff to properly document the scene. Because of the woman’s age and injuries, state patrol spokesman Trooper Glen Tyrrell said they opted to treat the crash as a potential fatality.

This meant the highway had to be closed down for photographs and all the traffic had to be diverted along back roads.

“It took awhile,” Tyrrell said. “There was only one troop there for awhile.”

The woman was in the Intensive Care Unit in serious condition Friday and her condition had not changed by late Monday afternoon.

Tyrrell said investigators still aren’t sure what caused the collision — neither driver showed signs of intoxication and although rain was falling, no visibility problems were reported.

Unless some more obvious cause is discovered, it’s likely the woman will be given a ticket for failure to yield the right-of-way.

It is the State Patrol’s policy to cite someone in every collision.

“She’s crossing 16; she has the obligation to yield,” Tyrrell said.

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