Heavy fog and unsafe driving led to the death of two drivers early Tuesday morning when a pickup passed a semi truck through heavy fog and struck a small sedan.
Around 1 a.m. a 39-year-old Mississippi man, who has been identified as Wesley Martin, was headed eastbound on Grandview Road, just east of Kickerville Road in Birch Bay, in a GMC pickup truck, when he passed the semi and crashed head-on into a Nissan Sentra driven by an 18-year-old Blaine woman, Angela Roderick, according to Washington State Patrol.
Both drivers died at the scene.
“The decision to pass was not the best choice for the pickup driver,” said Washington State Patrol trooper Keith Leary. “Visibility was limited to between 50 and 75 feet, and, as the trooper on scene said, similar to pea soup.”
Martin worked with a BP contractor called Matrix.
Despite his vehicle being struck by one of the cars involved in the crash, the driver of the semi, Eric Seitz of Blaine, remained uninjured but was transported to St. Joseph hospital as a precaution, according to state patrol. His rig was hauling a a load of jet fuel from the BP Refinery.
It was unclear whether drugs or alcohol were involved, Leary said. Investigators will be reviewing a toxicology report to determine if there were any other factors in the incident.
“This is an extremely horrible reminder of why we need to take our time in inclement weather,” Leary said. “Regardless of whether you are following a slower vehicle, you need to be patient, and if you can’t see a good distance down the road, you shouldn’t be passing.”
Leary said that with the unusual type of weather we’ve had this year that it could be an “interesting” season, and that drivers should plan ahead so they can arrive safely at their destination. “You can’t just drive the speed limit when your visibility is reduced,” he said. “You really have to slow down and take your time.”