An 82-year-old man who died in a collision on College Street in Lacey Tuesday morning has been identified as Charles Evans, according to the Thurston County Coroner’s Office.
Evans, who resided in Thurston County, died of blunt force trauma injuries, including a broken neck, Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock said.
Evans died after a pickup veered into oncoming traffic about 6:55 a.m. Tuesday in the 1300 block of College Street. A cargo van being driven by Evans struck the passenger-side of the pickup, Lacey Police Sgt. Terence Brimmer said.
Lacey police believe the driver of the pickup, a woman in her 30s, was driving under the influence of marijuana. The crash is under investigation. Brimmer could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday. The pickup driver was treated and released from an area hospital after the crash, Brimmer has said.
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Lacey police obtained a search warrant to test the pickup driver’s blood for evidence of marijuana use, Brimmer has stated.
Thurston County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Andrew Toynbee said Thursday that the crash investigation has not yet been forwarded to his office. Toynbee said an investigation involving a potential allegation of driving under the influence of marijuana could be “tricky,” because of the prosecutor’s burden of proving intoxication. A simple blood test does not typically measure with certainty how long ago someone consumed marijuana, Toynbee said.
Two passengers in the pickup were seriously injured. A male passenger in the pickup was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. A female passenger, believed to be in her teens or early 20s, was in the intensive care unit at Providence St. Peter Hospital after the crash.
There were no passengers in the cargo van being driven by Evans.
Witness Eric Sanchez said he was driving behind the cargo van when the crash occurred. He said the crash occurred when the pickup suddenly veered into the opposite lanes of College Street. “It seems like she just made a crazy U-turn,” Sanchez said. “The van didn’t have enough time to brake. Two seconds later and it could have been me.”
Sanchez said he stopped and tried to render aid at the scene. He added that it has been difficult recovering from the emotional trauma of what he saw in both the cargo van and the pickup. He added that he watched Evans take his dying breaths in the cargo van.
“I felt so bad, he looked like my grandpa who recently passed away,” Sanchez.