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WSP says excessive speed caused November trooper crash

January 30th, 2014 - 2:36pm

(Olympia) —- Washington State Patrol Detectives have confirmed that excessive speed was the cause of a November 29th collision involving a state trooper and two other vehicles near Port Angeles.

The collision on Highway 101 occurred on November 29th as Trooper Travis Beebe was attempting to overtake a speeding vehicle that had passed him in the opposite direction near Morse Creek.

Authorities say skid marks and other evidence reveal that Beebe was travelling between 70 and 75 miles per hour when he lost control.

That is 25 to 30 miles per hour over the posted speed limit of 45 miles per hour in that area.

Officials say initial indications were that speed was likely a factor.

Detectives from W-S-P’s Major Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) spent about two months reviewing every detail of the collision, and interviewed more than 15 uninvolved, third-party witnesses.

Officials say Detectives found that witness reports supported the initial impressions.

“Even though we were fairly certain what happened, I asked MAIT to make sure we fully understood everything,” said Captain Chris Old, commander of the State Patrol’s District 8.

“When a trooper is involved in a collision, it’s important that we understand any and all factors that might be in play. In the end, this case is exactly what it first appeared to be.”

Investigators confirmed the presence of a speeding vehicle with a defective headlight that passed Beebe in the opposite direction, and which had a significant head start.

Authorities say Beebe made a safe U-turn, and accelerated to 94 miles per hour in a straightaway while trying to catch up to the speeder.

Investigation reveals Beebe had reduced his speed significantly as he approached Morse Creek, but did not slow sufficiently to maintain control in the sweeping right hand corner.

A diagram prepared by detectives shows that Beebe entered the curve at between 70 and 75 miles per hour, and was attempting to reduce speed.

Reports say at about 56 miles per hour, the car began to rotate. He lost additional speed, and was travelling at 27 miles per hour when he struck the first of two other vehicles.

Trooper Beebe has previously accepted responsibility for the crash, receiving a four-day suspension.

Authorities say he has also successfully completed 40-hours of driver retraining and a check-ride with an agency driving instructor.

He is currently on patrol duty in W-S-P District 8, working in the Port Angeles area.

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