Sounder publisher, husband airflifted after rollover crash near Orcas Island ferry landing

The flipped vehicle near Warm Valley Lane.  - contributed photo
The flipped vehicle near Warm Valley Lane.
— image credit: contributed photo

Islands' Sounder Publisher Elyse Van den Bosch and her husband, Fred Munder, were airlifted to St. Joseph Hospital early Tuesday after their car was clipped by an 18-wheeler that crossed into the oncoming lane.

The accident was reported around 6:30 a.m. on Orcas Road near Cove Road, Orcas Fire and Rescue said.

The couple's SUV was traveling south towards the ferry landing when it was struck by a Cimarron truck's long trailer that veered into their lane. The SUV flipped and came to rest upside down against a tree.

Munder suffered a broken leg and arm, and Van den Bosch has a fractured hip. The truck driver was not injured, public safety officer Maxx Jones said.

"This accident would have been fatal if they weren't in their SUV," said sergeant Steve Vierthaler. "If they were in a Prius, they would have died."

Van den Bosch is the publisher of The Islands' Sounder, The Journal of the San Juan Islands, and The Islands' Weekly.

"It happened so suddenly," said Van den Bosch, who is at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, awaiting surgery on her hip. "We are so lucky. It could have been a lot worse. It was terrifying."

Van den Bosch wants to remind islanders to take advantage of the Airlift Northwest membership for medical flights.

"It's an incredible service," she said. "It's only $79 for a year, and you never know when you are going to need it."

The truck driver was cited for going over the center line; neither car was speeding at the time of the accident. Vierthaler said the truck felt "a little bump" when it hit the Lexus; the only damage it sustained was a broken wheel.

As a result of the crash, the road was blocked in both directions, which meant many commuters did not make it to the ferry.

"Since our No. 1 objective at all times is safety, we will always strive to maintain scene safety until everything is clear and all danger is mitigated," Jones said. "The scene may appear clear to the public eye when, in fact, it is not. We understand the need to get to the ferry and we work as fast as possible to clear the road. But life safety will always be first. We apologize to anyone who may have been inconvenienced by this crash scene."

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