Man dies from head-on collision on Highway 20 north of Oak Harbor

Troopers from the Washington State Patrol investigate a car accident on Highway 20 near the intersection with Jones Road that killed an Anacortes man Thursday evening.    - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Troopers from the Washington State Patrol investigate a car accident on Highway 20 near the intersection with Jones Road that killed an Anacortes man Thursday evening.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

One person was killed and two were injured in a two-car, head-on collision that occurred at 8 p.m. Thursday on Highway 20 north of Oak Harbor.

A helicopter landed on the closed highway to airlift an injured woman to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for treatment. A trooper at the scene said the woman appeared to have suffered a femoral artery bleed.

Joshua Ryan Ziegler, a 24-year-old Oak Harbor man, was pronounced dead at the scene. The State Patrol originally reported that he was an Anacortes resident, but the county coroner found he had been living in Oak Harbor.

Sgt. Bruce Maier with the Washington State Patrol said the man was driving a silver Saturn Scion toward Oak Harbor when the car drifted into the oncoming lane at the curve near Jones Road.

The driver of an oncoming Cadillac Escalade, 75-year-old Woodinville resident John Paul Zollbrecht, tried to take evasive action, but Ziegler swerved back into his lane at the same time. They collided head-on in the southbound lane.

Zollbrecht sustained non-life threatening injuries and he was transported to Whidbey General Hospital. The female passenger in the Escalade, 64-year-old Susan Boyer, sustained serious injuries and was airlifted. As of press time, she was in an operating room at Harborview Medical Center and her condition wasn’t known.

Troopers from the Washington State Patrol are investigating the accident. Highway 20 was closed until 11:45 p.m. Traffic was detoured at Jones Road and Frostad Road during the investigation and cleanup.

Detour collision

More than an hour after the collision, traffic came to a complete standstill on Highway 20 after two other cars collided head-on along the detour route on Jones Road.

Oak Harbor resident Correnne Wright was driving a 2001 Lincoln Continental through the detour route. She had turned left onto Jones Road from Dike Road. Then about 500 feet from the intersection, she drifted over the centerline and collided with a Honda Fit, driven by Michael Holohan of Santa Cruz, Calif., said Sgt. Rick Norrie of the Island County Sheriff’s Office.

Norrie said he wasn’t sure yet why Wright drifted over the center line.

Holohan and a passenger, Katherine Bemesderfer, also from Santa Cruz, were transported by ambulance to Whidbey General Hospital with minor injuries. Wright, who was shaken up from the accident, eventually went to the hospital as well.

Norrie said Wright was cited for failing to stay right of the centerline.

Because of the second accident, a portion of Jones Road had to be closed while deputies investigated. Northbound traffic had to turn right onto Jones Road, left onto Henni Road, left onto Imperial Lane and then back onto Jones Road before going back onto Highway 20.


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