No cause pinpointed in wreck that killed trooper

EVERETT — It has been more than five months since a Washington State Patrol motorcycle trooper died in a crash with a box truck, and detectives are continuing to try to piece together what went wrong.

Sean O’Connell, 38, died May 31 in an on-duty motorcycle collision while working traffic control related to the Skagit River bridge collapse. The Lake Stevens-area man was a 16-year veteran of the State Patrol.

He was killed in a collision at the intersection of Fir Island Road and Greenview Road in Conway in Skagit County. He’d checked the length of a vehicle backup and was returning to a traffic control point when the fatal accident occurred.

The case still is being worked by the agency’s Major Accident Investigation Team, made up of its most experienced collision detectives.

Progress has been slow because of the lack of any obvious cause, State Patrol spokesman Bob Calkins said.

“There was no egregious behavior by either party,” Calkins said.

In many cases, there are signs of alcohol or drug-impaired driving, speeding or an unfastened seatbelt that make it easier to determine what went wrong. Absent the obvious, detectives “must ferret out details” of possible contributing factors and that can take time, Calkins said.

Several years ago, for instance, State Patrol detectives researched migration patterns when a Lewis County deputy sheriff was killed after his patrol car struck an elk.

Calkins said there is no timetable for completing the investigation into O’Connell’s death.

“This appears to be a tragic accident,” he said, echoing what State Patrol Chief John Baptiste said shortly after the fatal crash.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com

More in Local News

A customer walks away after buying a hot dog from a vendor on 33rd St and Smith Street near the Everett Station on Friday. The Everett Station District Alliance pictures the area east of Broadway and south of Hewitt Avenue as a future neighborhood and transit hub that could absorb expected population growth. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
How can Everett Station become a vibrant part of city?

A neighborhood alliance focused on long-term revitalization will update the public Tuesday.

Agency didn’t expect such big demand for needle clean-up kits

The Snohomish Health District ran out of supplies quickly, but more are arriving daily.

EvCC teachers take their contract concerns to the board

Their union says negotiations have been disappointingly slow. The community college isn’t commenting.

Here’s what to do if you want to vote and aren’t registered

Oct. 30 is the deadline for new-voter registration in time for the November election.

Two teens struck by truck in Lynnwood

The teens, between the ages of 14 and 16, were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Luring attempt reported in Mountlake Terrace

The driver allegedly instructed a boy to get in the truck and help grab a scooter he was giving away.

Injured hiker rescued near Granite Falls

Woman fell and hit her head on a rock Saturday, and her condition worsened overnight.

Man arrested after police find van full of drugs, cash and guns

An officer on patrol noticed a vehicle by itself in the middle of a WinCo parking lot at 2 a.m.

Crews recover body of man who fell over Wallace Falls

The area where the man fell is called Sky Valley Lookout, 2.4 miles from the parking lot.

Most Read