04/27/2007: "An open letter to John Evans"
Mr. Evans, you owe a public apology to the family and friends of Ryan LoBue. In your recent editorial you stated that you do not recall any serious "events" involving car/bicycle accidents. Less than three years ago Ryan LoBue was killed by an automobile while riding his bike home from work. The accident occurred on Bailer Hill Road where there is about 6 inches of paved shoulder to the right of the white fog line. Ryan was a much-loved and well-known member of our community. His death was front-page news for weeks after the accident. His passing was a tragedy for his family and for the entire community.
Your lack of recall regarding this tragic event suggests that you are either out of touch with the community for not recalling the pain felt by most of us or prefer to only recall details that support your particular views. I hope that you are merely suffering a loss of memory. If you have dismissed Ryan's death because it was contrary to the view you espoused, that is a most callous stance.
Please acknowledge that our community has recently lost a loved and valued son to an accident on our "scenic roads". It honors Ryan's memory and gives us all hope that good will someday come from that tragedy.
(John Evans responds)
In rereading the piece that I wrote for the Guardian regarding the discussion on the Council about wider roads, it is clear that I should have originally referenced the accident on San Juan Island that took the life of Ryan LoBue three years ago. Ryan died after an automobile driven by Ms. Giovanni Drew struck the motorized bike Ryan was riding on the uphill climb on Bailer Hill Road. It was a tragedy for everyone connected with the accident.
Ms. Drew was convicted of vehicular homicide and felony hit and run and was sentenced to 34 months in prison. According to stories published at the time, there were four people in the car when the accident occurred and apparently all had been drinking. The Journal report indicates that Ms. Drew was tested for alcohol two hours after the accident and had a blood alcohol reading of .19. The legal limit is .08.
I do not know if a wider road would have prevented the accident that took Ryan’s life. I was a volunteer firefighter for quite a few years and had occasion to responded to accidents involving drunk drivers. There were incidents where, in my opinion, the width of the road would not have mattered.
I do think extra width on uphill portions of County roads is a good idea and, in this case, may have made a difference.
Please accept my apology to anyone who was offended that I did not reference the accident that took Ryan LoBue’s life.