Aberdeen man dies in single-vehicle crash

Drugs or alcohol are not suspected at this time, said a member of the sheriff’s office

A 32-year-old Aberdeen man died early Tuesday morning after being involved in a single-vehicle crash on Ocean Beach Road near Highway 101.

The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department, with assistance from the Quinault and Hoquiam police departments, responded to the crash, said Undersheriff Kevin Schrader. The initial call came from a passerby, Schrader said. The fatality was identified on Wednesday as 32-year-old Austin Smythe, Schrader said.

“Early this morning around 1:50 a.m. we were dispatched to a single vehicle collision on Ocean Beach Road between milepost 1 or 2,” Schrader said in a phone interview. “He was traveling either south or east, left the roadway, failed to negotiate a left hand turn in the road, striking a guardrail and then a telephone pole.”

The sheriff’s department does not suspect drugs or alcohol were factors at this time, Schrader said. Officers were not able to determine the speed of the vehicle at the time of the crash.

“What we’re thinking is he fell asleep. There aren’t any marks on the roadway to indicate he tried to make an evasion,” Schrader said. “There was no signs of braking present at the scene.”

The vehicle, a 2000 Toyota Tacoma, struck the guardrail on the south side of the road before destroying a power pole. Crews were already repairing the damage Tuesday at noon. Smythe died in the crash, likely from blunt force trauma, Schrader said.

“It was later determined he died at the scene,” Schrader said. “It did not appear he was wearing a seatbelt and he was partially ejected from the vehicle.”

The coroner’s office has the Smythe’s body, Schrader said, and the vehicle has been towed from the scene and impounded. The power pole and guardrail required replacement and repair, but power service was not interrupted, said Grays Harbor Public Utility District community and Government Relations Director Ian Cope in a phone interview.

“Make sure you’re always wearing your seatbelt,” Schrader said. “If you’re feeling tired, it’s safer to pull off the roadway and call someone to come get you or take a nap.”

Contact Senior Reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@thedailyworld.com.