LONG BEACH - A mysterious death outside Long Beach of a 19-year-old Ocean Park man this summer still remains unsolved and at this time investigations by the Washington State Patrol and Pacific County Sheriff's Office are coming to a close.
David Carter was killed on his way home from work in the early morning hours of Tuesday, Aug. 20. He had just gotten off work at the Shoalwater Restaurant and was heading home when he was run over by two vehicles on State Route 103 just north of Cranberry Road.
The driver of the first vehicle contacted the Pacific County Sheriff's Office at 1:31 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 20, and told a 9-1-1 dispatcher that he had just run over some one. Ten minutes later a second driver called and said he also ran over someone at the same location on SR 103.
Both drivers said Carter was lying in the northbound lane of Cranberry Road when they struck him. Both drivers left him lying in the road and went to the same house to call 9-1-1, where they waited to be contacted by law enforcement.
One thing that the sheriff's office and the State Patrol have never been able to determine is how Carter ended up in the northbound land of SR 103, in light of the fact that only approximately 70 minutes elapsed from the time he left work until the first call came in that he had been struck by a vehicle.
State Patrol Captain Gayle Otto said at a Nov. 13 State Patrol public forum in Long Beach that based on comments from the driver of the first vehicle, Carter was still alive when he was struck the first time.
Results of an autopsy on Carter were obtained by the Chinook Observer on Tuesday, Nov. 26 from Pacific County Prosecuting Attorney/County Coroner Mike Smith. The results show that Carter died from blunt force trauma to the his head, chest and neck and from abdominal trauma.
The report states: "The results of the toxicology fail to offer insight into the reason the deceased would have been lying prone in the street. No injuries indicating trauma prior to the head exist, and the injury pattern is inconsistent with having been struck in a standing, bent or kneeling position. Undetermined is designated for the manner of death because of the inability to exclude suicide as opposed to an accident."
Shortly after Carter's death, both his mother Maria Garibay Carter and his brother, Nick Carter, said they didn't see any indication that David was willing to or wanted to take his own life.
Toxicology results were completed on Sept. 30 by the Washington State Toxicology Laboratory in Seattle and the results were sent back to Smith's office. They show that Carter tested positive for cannabinoids (marijuana), but there were no traces of any other substances or alcohol.
The Chinook Observer requested these toxicology results several times in September and it was only after a Request for Release of Public Information was sent to Smith's office on Monday that the results were faxed to the paper this week.
The State Patrol, which has been conducting an investigation into the collision aspect of the case, has not seen these toxicology results. On Monday, according to State Patrol Trooper Glen Tyrrell, the toxicology results were sent to the Pacific County Sheriff's Office, but he is not aware that any one at the State Patrol investigating the Carter case ever saw these results.
In addition, Tyrrell said that the investigator for the State Patrol and the investigator for the sheriff's office have yet to get together and share their separate investigation reports.
"They have not tied their two reports together yet," said Otto.
According to Pacific County Sheriff John Didion, the sheriff's office investigator Ron Clark and State Patrol Detective John Huntington both plan on submitting their investigation reports to Smith's office in the near future.
The question of foul play was addressed at the Nov. 13 forum by State Patrol Chief Ronal Serpas, who said that both the State Patrol and the sheriff's office have looked "quite heavily" into the possibility of foul play.
According to Otto, in a case such as Carter's, where all leads have been exhausted, there is often a "cooling off" period or a period where investigators sit back and wait for someone to come forward or for evidence to surface.
"We're to the end of that time right now," said Otto.
Didion concurred with Otto, and added that the sheriff's office has exhausted and followed up on every lead.