Two Navy aviators pulled an Oak Harbor man to safety and administered CPR on him after their cars collided early Friday on Highway 20 at Deception Road, east of Pass Lake.
The Oak Harbor man’s car caught fire after he was pulled from it, Washington State Patrol Trooper Heather Axtman said. Despite the aviators’ efforts, the man was declared by medics to be dead at the scene.
The state patrol identified the deceased as Jaushon A. Clay-Garner, 19. The cause of the collision is under investigation.
The collision occurred at about 2:42 a.m. Clay-Garner was driving north on Highway 20 when his sedan crossed the centerline and struck a southbound vehicle on the passenger side, the state patrol reported.
The collision occurred at a curve where the speed limit is 40 mph.
The driver of the southbound vehicle, Ryan M. Gower, 24, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, was not injured. His passenger, Nicholas J. Dodd, 24, of Loudonville, New York, was taken to WhidbeyHealth Medical Center for treatment injuries, Axtman said.
Cmdr. Ron Flanders of Naval Air Forces San Diego said Monday that Gower and Dodd are commissioned officers assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 129, also known as VAQ-129, the EA-18G Growler training squadron at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. Gower and Dodd were returning to the base when the collision occurred, Axtman said.
Axtman said she “found it heroic” that the officers — one of them injured enough to be hospitalized — pulled Clay-Garner out of the car before it caught fire and performed CPR until medics arrived. “It speaks to the character of those two guys,” she said.
Flanders said “our thoughts and prayers go out to the families” of those in the collision.