PENINSULA — One man is sitting in jail while another is fighting for his life after two nearly simultaneous collisions unfolded on the Long Beach Peninsula during what can only be described as Rod Run weekend mayhem.
Intoxicated man burnout
The first incident occurred just after 9 p.m. on Sept. 10 when a driver, identified as Anthony C. McCollum, 22, performed a burnout as he exited the Bolstad beach approach. He allegedly lost control of his vehicle and struck a parked car.
According to the Washington State Patrol, which was requested to assist with the investigation, when McCollum struck the parked car, it hit a male victim and knocked him to the ground. McCollum then drove away from the scene on 2nd Street.
“He continued on 2nd Street turning east and made it about halfway down the block before his car finally gave out and was contacted by foot patrol officers,” WSP Sgt. Bradford Moon said. “Some had heard, and one of them had seen, the wreck. Multiple officers were witnesses that saw or heard the wreck.”
WSP Trooper and Drug Recognition Expert Edgar Quintero also responded to the scene and performed a drug recognition test on McCollum. Officers believe that McCollum was under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the collision and are awaiting toxicology results.
According to Moon, the victim struck by the parked car was taken to Ocean Beach Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. His injuries were initially believed to be minor, but an x-ray discovered a broken leg, elevating the charges for McCollum.
McCollum was booked into the Pacific County Jail at 2:11 a.m. on Sept. 11 for reckless driving, vehicular assault, DUI, hit and run, and third-degree theft. His bail was set at $50,000.
Man flees and ends up airlifted
While officers from multiple agencies were on the hit-and-run scene, another call came out over the radio that a vehicle was failing to stop for a Pacific County Sheriff’s Office deputy. The vehicle allegedly ran a stop sign and fled at the intersection of Sandridge Road and Bay Avenue.
“He observed a vehicle visible traveling at what appeared to be a high rate of speed southbound on Sandridge Road and the intersection of Bay Avenue, which is a very bad intersection,” Chief Criminal Deputy Pat Matlock said. “The vehicle didn’t slow down until it was already through the intersection and slid through.”
According to Sgt. Randy Wiegardt, the vehicle turned onto Bay Avenue, and he caught up to it and attempted to initiate a traffic stop with his lights and siren activated. Instead of stopping, the vehicle continued, including swerving around traffic in its way.
Due to new state policing laws, once the vehicle began fleeing at a high rate of speed, Wiegardt called off his pursuit. He continued to patrol the area looking for the vehicle and ultimately found it over an embankment at the notoriously dangerous intersection of Joe Johns and U Street.
“[Wiegardt’s] headlights lit up an embankment in front of him, and he could see fresh tire marks through the vegetation and saw debris kicked up,” Matlock said. “He then started to see a large cloud of smoke and dust over the embankment.”
Wiegardt and another driver who stopped, identified as a female nurse, went over the embankment and found the fleeing vehicle upside down. Both heard a man moaning and calling for help. The nurse reportedly tended to the driver while Wiegardt searched the area for any possible ejected occupants.
The driver was identified as Gregory Rebisch of Ocean Park. He was extricated from the vehicle by emergency responders and transported to Ocean Beach Hospital in critical condition.
He was later life-flighted to an out-of-area trauma center with life-threatening injuries.
As of Tuesday, there was no official update on his condition.