80-year-old dies in light pole car crash

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An 80-year-old man is believed to have died at the wheel before crashing his car into a light pole near the corner of Fifth Avenue and Washington Street in Sequim on Tuesday morning.

Clallam County Fire District 3 responded to the report of a car-versus-light pole accident at 6:37 a.m. and found Harold Van Riper dead in the front seat. No one else was in the car.

Sequim Police Detective Sgt. Sean Madison said the subsequent investigation showed Van Riper’s 2007 Honda CRV left West Washington Street while traveling eastbound in the 500 block.

The car then crossed over the westbound lane of traffic, over an embankment, through landscaping, through the Rite Aid parking lot, over another embankement, through more landscaping, over a sidewalk, across Fifth Avenue and up the curb through some shrubs before crashing into a light pole in the Walgreens parking lot, Madison said.

Madison said the damage to the car was not sufficient to cause death so it appears Van Riper suffered a catastrophic medical condition that killed him.

Van Riper was on his way to a doctor’s appointment, he said.

Reach Amanda Winters at


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