The office manager of a recreational vehicle resort in Washington state was killed on the highway in front of the resort Monday (March 1)as she attempted a left turn into the driveway, according to the Peninsula Daily News, Port Angeles.
The death of Judy Ann Cates, 59, was a nightmare-come-true for park residents who have long fought for a left-turn lane on busy U.S. Highway 101 in front of the D.B.R. RV Park near Gardiner.
As they stood alongside the highway around 3 p.m. Monday, looking at the crash scene at Milepost 277 — and some fighting back tears — many said the fatality might not have happened had there been a left-turn lane on the two-lane highway.
Three others received minor injuries in the three-car crash, according to the state patrol.
Cates, who was driving a 2002 Saturn four-door sedan, died when her car was clipped on its right rear end by a vehicle behind it, spinning Cates’ car into the westbound lane. It was struck from behind by an oncoming vehicle, leaving it a crumpled heap in the middle of the highway.
Cates was pronounced dead at the scene.
The crash was still under investigation, and charges are pending, the state patrol reported.
Cates was among the park’s residents who in late 2008 fought for a left-turn lane leading into the park and in opposition to a passing lane on Highway 101.
The state Department of Transportation put the brakes on the plan to widen the stretch of U.S. 101 to accommodate a truck-climbing lane.
“We know this would happen one day,” said Brian Kolp, a resident of the RV resort, on Monday.
“We’re very sad,” said Kolp, who described Cates as a “vibrant” retired school librarian from Texas.
Park resident Jan Boyungs said she and others heard the crash.
“We saw that she was turning left and had left her turn signals on,” Boyungs said.
She described Cates as “a dear person, a happy-go-lucky person.”
Park resident Connie Arburua said park residents often have to keep going on Highway 101 and turn around to come back to avoid stopping in the two-lane road to turn left.
“We have 18-wheelers passing us on the right while we are turning,” she said.
Kolp and others said they want to push once again for a left-turn lane to make it safe for park residents who number up to about 85 in the summer and 30 to 35 in the winter.
The park’s residents, including Cates, successfully fought against the 1.4-mile-long truck-climbing lane proposed in 2008 to allow motorists to pass slow-moving vehicles.
It would have stretched from about a quarter-mile east of the Wild Birds Unlimited shop to the Discovery Bay Resort.
It was to have been completed this year.
The Gardiner project was designed in 1996.
It was put on the shelf and taken off several times before it was scheduled again in 2008.
Gardiner residents then said they were worried that the passing lane would increase traffic danger.
They raised concerns about making left turns on and off the highway into their streets or driveways, while large trucks and other vehicles bore down on them or passed them on the right at high speeds.