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Freeland man, 21, dies after car crashes into pole

Flowers, a candle and a hand-written card mark the makeshift memorial for Daniel Torget on Fish Road.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Flowers, a candle and a hand-written card mark the makeshift memorial for Daniel Torget on Fish Road.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

FREELAND — Daniel L. Torget died in the early hours Sunday morning after his car collided with a power pole on Fish Road. He was 21 years old.

Torget was a half-mile from his mother’s house near the intersection of Fish Road and Garden Lane. His 2007 Mazda 6, a black four-door sedan, went off the road at about 2 a.m. and slammed into a power pole, with impact on the front passenger side of the car. The cause of the crash was unknown, and Island County Coroner Robert Bishop said the blood toxicology report will take between three and four weeks.

“There’s so many things from fatigue to messing with the radio,” Bishop said. “Who knows?”

Bishop added: “He didn’t drive straight into it. He lost control of the car.”

According to the Washington State Patrol incident report, Torget was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Torget was driving west on Fish Road away from Highway 525 when the crash occurred. Washington State Patrol is investigating the cause of the crash and will determine the speed of impact. Bishop said the car’s airbags deployed, but were not enough to prevent blunt force trauma to Torget’s abdomen.

“There was significant intrusion on the passenger’s side,” said South Whidbey Fire/EMS Deputy Chief Jon Beck. “At least 18 inches.”

On Monday morning, a roadside memorial was set up around the power pole Torget crashed into. Gouges in the wooden pole with splinters still poking out served as a grim headstone surrounded by flowers, candles and one hand-written card.

“It’s just really, really sad,” Bishop said. “He’s way too young.”

Torget is not alone in being a young man to die in a speeding-related car crash in Washington.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission reported most speeding-related deaths from 2006 to 2010 were men between 21 and 25 years old, with 192 fatalities. Of the total fatalities in that time period, 37 percent were on county roads, like Fish Road in Freeland.

South Whidbey Fire/EMS, with headquarters on nearby Cameron Road, was one of the first responders to the scene, shortly after a Whidbey General EMS crew. Beck was the duty officer that morning and drove from the Bayview station five minutes after the dispatch was heard. Attempts were made to save Torget’s life, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by Whidbey General Hospital emergency medical technicians and South Whidbey Fire/EMS responders, though they were unsuccessful. Torget was declared dead at the scene, and Bishop notified his mother, Debbie Torget.

Fish Road is a familiar site to South Whidbey Fire/EMS. Beck said there have been at least five major car crashes there since he’s been with the fire district.

“We’ve had several accidents on that corner, cars just going way too fast at that intersection,” Beck said.

“Fish Road comes off a 55 mph road, it’s a nice condition road and people just fly through there.”

The impact of the crash knocked some of the power lines and the cross arm loose. Puget Sound Energy was called in to repair the lines.

On the Record’s website, commenters posted their sympathies and well wishes for Torget and his family. His family is organizing and will announce plans for a public celebration of Torget’s life.

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