More than 10 months after a crosswalk collision sent her to the hospital and killed her sister, JoVonne Lingvall, 88, says she has no memory of being hit after coming out of Mass that tragic evening.
“It’s a blessing not to remember,” Lingvall said.
She and her sister Lorraine Anderson, 89, had finished Mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 121 E. Maple St., on a stormy night around 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 14, 2020. While crossing the street, a 41-year-old vehicle driver accidentally struck the sisters, confirmed by Sequim Police officers who later viewed security footage of the scene.
Lingvall was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center for brain bleeding but released with a cracked bone in a leg; Anderson died from her injuries early in the morning of Nov. 18, at Olympic Medical Center, family members said.
Standing outside the church last week for an interview, Lingvall said she continues to find comfort in her faith.
“The night we were injured, we sat together, said the rosary for the congregation, received communion and then walked out,” she said.
“(Faith) helps you accept things that happen.”
Since the incident, City of Sequim officials, with direction from the Sequim city council, church leaders with Clallam Catholic — an umbrella of the county’s four parishes — and Anderson’s family, have worked together on the crosswalk to hopefully prevent any future collisions.
A grant obtained by the City of Sequim earlier this year from the Washington Association of Cities for $17,500 led to the purchase and installation of two solar powered LED-lighted pedestrian crossing signs and mounted traffic delineators.
They were installed on Aug. 12, Sequim Public Works director Matt Klontz said.
The new pedestrian crossing will help with the area’s higher risks, he said, being by an intersection that connects to an arterial, serves as a main access route to the Sequim Post Office, and has high pedestrian traffic at certain times of day.
“(It’ll) assist both motorists and pedestrians in bringing immediate attention to the use of the crossing where motorists may not be anticipating or expecting pedestrians,” Klontz said.
Cathy Wiswell, regional administrator for Clallam Catholic Parishes, said church members are “very grateful” for the city’s support, especially with it getting darker sooner in the coming months.
To ensure even greater safety with the new crosswalk, Wiswell said after church leadership had the parking lot resurfaced in late August, the parish added 10 cement, tire-stop parking dividers along Maple Street so vehicles cannot go directly into the crosswalk.
Lingvall returned to church about two months after the collision for her sister’s funeral and began regularly attending services soon thereafter. She has mostly maintained her routine of attending St. Joseph’s since moving to Sequim in May 1941, she said.
“(The crosswalk) is well needed,” Lingvall said. “I felt the church and city did a good job. Too bad we didn’t have it sooner. (Lorraine) could still be alive.”
She feels the crosswalk will serve the parish well with children and adults crossing at night for education classes, services and choir practices.
As for her recovery, Lingvall said she didn’t have the same energy as prior to the collision, but she recently surprised herself working in the yard for a few hours, resting for only 15 minutes and walking two miles with a neighbor.
“At my age, I’m driving, taking care of my needs, and I don’t need to hire a housekeeper,” she said.
The sisters were born 18 months apart, Lingvall said, and “almost like twin sisters.”
“When we both lost our husbands, we would just call each other, share things, and now she’s not there to share anymore,” she said.
“It’s hard to get used to.”
She remembers Lorraine as someone who was “always concerned about others who might need help, was the first one there to help, and she was very loving and personable.”
Anderson is survived by three children Debbie, Mike and Paula with her son Jim Anderson passing away in June 2020; she also has eight grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, family members said.
She spent her married life in Port Angeles as a homemaker with her husband Bill Anderson, who died about 15 years ago.
Anderson returned to Sequim and focused on family, church and her garden.
Lingvall was also a homemaker with three children, seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, she said.
St. Joseph has weekend Masses at 5 p.m. Saturdays and 8:30 a.m. Sundays in Sequim. Mass schedules and additional information for Queen of Angels in Port Angeles, St. Anne in Forks and St. Thomas in Clallam Bay can be found at clallamcatholic.org.