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 Democrat and ex-Republican team up to end two-party politics

Brian Baird and Chris Vance unveil a new organization called Washington Independents.

The beavers weren’t happy, either, about Mill Creek flooding

A tree fell on their dam, sending a rush of water into a neighborhood near Jackson High School.

Aerospace workers adjust to changing industry

The number of Boeing workers dropped almost 10 percent since last year

Lynnwood, Marysville, Sultan consider ban on safe injection sites

If approved, they would join Lake Stevens and Snohomish County, which have temporary bans.

Mill Creek councilman no longer lives in city, panel finds

The Canvassing Board determined Sean Kelly is not eligible to vote there.

A whole life ahead. Five-month-old Felix Shope lies in his stroller ready to go home from the Snohomish County Courthouse with his new mom and dad, Alicia and Josh Shope of Edmonds. A family down the hall tends to a child and are likely awaiting their own adoption proceedings. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
16 youngsters get the gift of home on National Adoption Day

A joyful day at county courthouse tempered with the great need for stable, loving homes.

Stranger offered candy to student walking home from school

The Granite Falls School District is warning families about… Continue reading

Man arrested after stolen car crashes in Everett

The accident occurred in the 100 block of SE Everett Mall Way.

5-vehicle crash in Arlington kills 62-year-old woman

Medics had transported her to the hospital, where she later died.

Most Read