by Bruce A. Smith
Two unusual traffic accidents on SR 161 in Eatonville have resulted in a hit and run crash that sent one driver to jail and a second accident several days later put a 63 year-old bicyclist into Harborview Hospital in Seattle. In addition, a pick-up truck stolen in Ashford has been recovered in Eatonville.
The hit and run occurred about 6:15 pm on Monday, April 9, just north of Barney’s Corner at the intersection of Meridian and 400th St.
According to one of the drivers, Cody Parham, he was driving his green Lexus northbound after spending some time at the Eatonville skatepark. Parham, 19, told the Mountain News he was driving at a normal highway speed of about 55 mph when a tan Toyota pick-up came careening down 400th St heading westward and entered the highway without pausing.
The Toyota clipped the front end of the Lexus, spun the vehicles into each other and the impact resulted in a head-on-like collision.
The Lexus was totalled and the Toyota sustained front-end damage.
Parham says the driver of the Toyota, later learned to be Edna Kitty Carlton, 41, ran from the scene and headed back up 400th St towards a cluster of houses about 100 yards from the highway. Carlton also did not offer any assistance to those in the Lexus, nor inquire as to their well-being.
Carlton also appeared to be under the influence, according to Parham.
“She looked really messed up,” he said.
In addition, Carlton did not own the vehicle, said Parham, who claimed that a Greg Lucy is the registered owner. Parham also said that Carlton had one passenger aboard the Toyota at the time of the incident, but the individual has not been identified.
As for Parham, he says he sustained lots of bruises and scrapes.
“I’m feeling pretty sore,” he told the Mountain News.
He was later transported to Good Samaritan Hospital and was released after a medical examination.
Also injured was Parham’s younger brother, who was placed in a neck brace at Good Sam’s. A younger sister was a second passenger, sitting in the back seat, and she suffered friction burns from her seat belt.
Reflecting their age and savvy usage of social media, the incident was posted quickly on Facebook, along with pictures of the mysterious Toyota. Many individuals commented on the accident, and one alerted the Mountain News.
Since the crash occurred on SR 161, the Washington State Patrol responded with two troopers, who were assisted by Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies. Together they went looking for the runaway driver.
According to WSP field reports, they found Ms. Carlton at 6:45 pm “hunkered down” behind a house at 40223 400th St.
After apprehending Carlton for fleeing the scene, the police also determined that she was most probably under the influence of methamphetamines and they arrested her for possession of a controlled substance.
Ms. Carlton was booked into Pierce County jail that evening on two felony counts, one for fleeing and the second was a drug charge. She was also booked on a misdemeanor charge of not having a valid driver’s license.
Along those lines, Ms Carlton doesn’t have any car insurance according to Parham, and his family is now liable for the $3,000 incurred by their emergency room visit at Good Samaritan.
Another consequence of the accident is that Cody’s induction into the military has been delayed. He and his brother were originally scheduled to take their ASBAB tests on April 16, but these evaluations have been postponed. Cody and his brother are uncertain as to what service they wanted to enter, but Cody said he wanted to join the Marines or the Army Reserve.
Several days later, another accident occurred on SR 161 that was more serious. On Sunday, April 15, Lee M Sorensen, 63, of Seattle, was bicycling on Merdian near Ohop Creek and was apparently hit by a vehicle driven by Carmen Blankenship of Puyallup.
According to WSP reports, both Sorensen and Blankenship were traveling northbound.
Mr. Sorensen’s daughter Christine told the Mountain News that she understood that her father was going downhill and Ms. Blankenship was driving a pick-up with a trailer and may have side-swiped the cyclist.
“He’s been cycling for years and really knows the area,” said Ms. Sorensen. “Plus, he is very safety conscious.”
The WSP report that Mr. Sorensen was first transported to Tacoma General Hospital, but his daughter said that he was later transferred to Harborview Hospital in Seattle, where he was in ICU, Monday, April 16, and had undergone surgery for an undisclosed injury.
Christine also said that the incident was captured on a security camera from a nearby business, and that the family is waiting for additional police reports.
However, no charges have been filed against Ms. Blankenship at this time.
In additional local car news, a pick-up truck stolen in Ashford has been recovered in Eatonville. Sarah Scott of the Upper Nisqually Community Forum sent the Mountain News the following report:
Phil Freeman of Copper Creek Inn & Restaurant asked that I pass along this good news:
“Would you please forward this thank you to the community who has kept a watchful eye for our red Dodge Dakota 4×5 longbed pickup truck reported stolen from the lodge property last Thursday? We received a call from Lynn Butler of Eatonville (on 4/10). The pickup was recovered from a property on Scott Turner Rd. in good condition all considered. The snow plow was taken off and remains stolen. The pickup was not harmed for which we are thankful. All items in the bed and cab were still there, snow tires still on. Clearly the snowplow blade was the target. I will let you know if there are markings on the blade that may help identify the blade should one cross your path unexpectedly. Thank you all again for keeping an eye out for the truck. Thank you to the Butlers for finding and reporting it to us and PCSD.”
— Phil Freeman
© 2012 Mountain News-WA