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Motorcyclist dies in car accident on Vashon Highway | Updated
A West Seattle man riding his motorcycle on Vashon on Saturday was killed when he was struck by a vehicle on Vashon Highway near the north end.
Patrick Lajko, 62, was stopped to make a left turn when he was hit from behind, according to Sgt. Cindi West, a spokeswoman for the King County Sheriff’s Office. The accident occurred at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday on the 12500 block of Vashon Highway, outside Palouse Winery. Lajko was headed northbound.
The incident was the first traffic fatality on Vashon in a little over a year, said George Brown, assistant chief at Vashon Island Fire & Rescue (VIFR).
Bystanders and emergency responders from VIFR were unable to revive Lajko, Brown said, and he was was pronounced dead at the scene.
West said the driver of the other vehicle was a Vashon woman who is in her sixties, and authorities believe she was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The incident is still under investigation, West said, and it is not yet known if any citations or criminal charges will result.
Lajko was the founder and president of CDE Software, a bowling software company based in West Seattle since 1988.
Lance Rasmussen, CDE’s manager, said on Monday that Lajko had lived in West Seattle for over 25 years, was “active in a lot of different things” and enjoyed going for rides on his motorcycle.
“He was great to work for,” he added.
Lajko left behind a mother and a brother, Rasmussen said.
West said authorities don’t know where Lajko was headed when he stopped to turn on the highway.
Faith Addicott, who works at Palouse Winery and was there at the time of the accident, said Palouse was open until 5 p.m. that day but there were no customers there at the time. Those at the winery are unsure whether Lajko was coming into the winery, heading down a neighboring driveway or perhaps planned to turn around in Palouse’s large, gravel driveway, which drivers often do, she said.
The speed limit on Vashon Highway drops from 50 mph to 35 mph right by Palouse.
“We at Palouse are deeply shaken and saddened by the day’s events,” Addicott said in an email.
The highway was closed in both directions for several hours on Saturday evening while the county’s Major Accident Response and Reconstruction team investigated. Traffic was rerouted via Cedarhurst Road and Burma Road, the only possible detour for that area.
Brown, with VIFR, said he has since received about a half-dozen comments from drivers who felt the detour on the narrow, windy road created a dangerous situation and who saw near accidents there.
There were no reported accidents during the detour, Brown said, but he hopes to arrange a meeting between VIFR, the sheriff’s office and the county roads department to discuss the handling of future detours.