OP report with WSP incident [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: OP report with WSP incident

03-24-2004, 12:43 PM

Sunday night, I left work and caught the Ferry at 10:30. I really love driving out to the OP late at night when there is no other traffic. Hardly any cars all the way out to Lake Crescent. I love that section along the lake, when it's empty and dark. I was almost to the end, staying between 35 and 45, when I noticed headlights behind me and they were coming up on me fast. I can keep up with most of the locals on that road, but this guy had me dead to rights, so I pulled over at the next turnout. State Patrol went flying by me. I tried to keep up with him, but he was doing about five miles an hour faster than I like for that road. When we hit the straight away, he was gone like a rocket, see ya.

Kept driving about 65 to 70 and I noticed two bright flashes in the sky. Oh great, lightning and it was starting to drizzle. Come up on the Old odometer check point, mile 1, and checked my odometer to keep track. Looked up and GEEZUZ, this Elk was laying on the other side of the road. Started to slow down and noticed a white blur on the right side of the road, in the dirt. It was the WSP car, upside down and pointing in the opposite direction of travel. Hit the brakes and backed up to his car. I'm just fixing to get out and this bloody, dirty patrolman comes up to my window. "Have you got a flash light?" he says. Hell yeah, but that is all, no dressings, gauze wrap or saline. No first aid kit, no flares, but I had a flash light. "Are you OK?" He says, "I think I might need some medical attention. "Well" I said, "I just happened to be a nurse, let me check you out." He had multiple lacerations to both his arms, several above his face and a couple on the back of his head. One rather deep cut at the occipital that was already started to swell. I did some neuro checks and his pupils were equal and reactive. He was standing and moving his arms so his muscular-skeletal was OK, which was a fricking miracle after I got a closer look at the car. "I think your going to be alright" I said. "Thanks, I'd shake your hand, but I'll get blood on ya." I said, "Don't worry, my hands have touched a lot worse than blood." We shook hands. "I'm Matt." "I'm Allan."

About that time, a chip truck come barreling down the road, back toward Crescent Lake. I waved my flash light as the elk was still in the road. He didn't even slow down. He hit that elk mid torso with all the tires on the left side of his tractor-trailer and kept right on going. That elk lifted the cab of his truck three feet and he didn't even stop. Allan said, "We better get that elk off the road." We got over to it and it was still breathing. Allan unsnapped the holster of his belt and started to pull his weapon out. I thought, holy crap, first she gets hit with a patrol car, then a chip truck and now that dumb elk was really in for it. It was time for a little Washing State payback. Allan says, "Maybe I shouldn't expend a round." I told him her breathing was really autonomic anyway. Just muscular movement without any real inspiratory volume. He says, "I've been kicked pretty hard by these." "She is a long way from kicking anybody, lets do it" I said. We moved her off the road.

Then another vehicle came up on us and stopped by where we had just moved the elk. It was a guy in a beat up Ford truck that looked like it had taken out a few elk in its time. In typical local fashion, this fella says, "Man, that is a lot of steak laying there." We went over and started to check out the patrol car. After the elk had gone through the windshield, Allan had lost control of the vehicle and went off the road. His right front must have grabbed the dirt, spinning and flipping his car. The ass end of his beautiful patrol car, sheared off the power pole about ten feet off the ground, breaking it in two places. There were power lines laying all over his car. I couldn't believe he crawled out of it alive. A Callalum county sheriff finally pulled up and took the burden of being in charge off my shoulders. I did a couple more neuro checks every five to ten minutes until I knew that an aid car was more than halfway there. I knew Allan would be OK and said I needed to get on down the road to the Oxbow. Allan was so thankful. We exchanged phone numbers and he said we would stay in touch. He knew a lot of guides and was going to hook me up. We said good bye and off I went. A couple minutes later, the aid car from Forks went by and I was keeping an eye out for wildlife. I was doing about 65 and had just passed the bridge by Sapho when a deer ran out in front of me. Hit the brakes and just missed it. It just kind of aimlessly meandered off the road. I drove 45 all the way to the Oxbow after that.


Got up at 7 am and made coffee. I had blood on my hands from the night before, elk on the left and Allan on the right. Fished Oxbow for two hours. Visibility was 2 to 3 feet. A lot of drift boats went by. One guy even stopped 50 feet below me as I was working the run. Sat down on the bank and had a smoke. Waited until the dork left and continued to work the run. Had lunch and explored the Oil city road along the Hoh. Thought I could access a few spots at Cottonwood, but the visibility was decreasing the farther I went down river. Drove back to the upper Hoh river road. Above the Morgan boat launch, I found two roads off to the right that accessed the river. First was a mud hole that I had to four wheel through streams and deep ass puddles. The second led to an older clear cut with three spurs. The river could be accessed from each spur. The water was a beautiful blue green color and about three feet if vis. Fished there for two hours. It was a narrow stretch of river and the water was deep and fast. I'll have to explore that section better another day. Continued up to the park boundary and went back down. Fished the bar just below Minnie Peterson Campground for an hour. Back to Oxbow to set up camp and eat. Fished there again for an hour before dark. 6 hours total.


Didn't sleep very well and woke up really sore in the back of that Cherokee. Fished at Oxbow again for two hours. Fished at Morgan's boat launch for two hours. I was really hurting after two days a doing a double Spey with that 8/9/10 Windcutter with the sink tip compensator and a type 8 tip. I really need to find better spots on the Hoh that are not so heavily fished or with so much boat traffic. Game department asked me about my creel count and said I had not even had a take. Asked her about what was happening with the other fisherman and she said it was pretty slow. Rain had picked up and the river was starting to silt up. Down to two feet of vis and dropping. I was sore and tired so I went home.

Matt Burke

03-24-2004, 01:54 PM
Absolutely incredible!!!!!

Sorta glad my fishing trips are not as eventful.

Big K1
03-24-2004, 03:17 PM
Great report! Sorry it didn't end with a fish.


03-24-2004, 03:21 PM
Matt, I saw the dead Elk along the road the next day or so "now I know the rest of the story". Last monday there were 5 different Park Rangers sitting in speed traps around Lake Crescent how I didn't get a ticket is pure luck as I drive the Lake hundreds of times a year and have a very fat foot!:D

03-24-2004, 03:40 PM
Originally posted by KerryS
Absolutely incredible!!!!!

Sorta glad my fishing trips are not as eventful.

the 'understatement!'


03-24-2004, 04:23 PM
i've drilled a dear or two,but,never did i think about eating it,!,,,i know what an elk will do,fixed a lot of cars that have hit deer, maybe a couple that have tangled with an elk,how come no first aid kit?,all those who `enjoy' the outdoors should have one under the seat:)

04-08-2004, 07:25 PM

Well done man, thanks for taking care of a fellow law enforcement officer. Almost brought tears to my eyes.
Cheers to you brother.


04-10-2004, 06:39 PM
Have you heard back from the officer? Just curious how he's been doing. Sure that shook him up pretty good.

04-11-2004, 12:25 AM
Actually, he called me last week. He was very grateful to me for stopping and was offering a place to stay and hooking me up with this friend who is a guide, etc. I told him that it wasn't necessary, but I would consider it an honor just to go fishing with him sometime (he lives on the Sol Duc).

Then I get this thank you note in the mail from his wife. A very nice, hand written note. I wrote her back and asked about maybe hooking up with my kids and their kids and all of us having a picnic or something. I told her I thought that maintaining some kind of friendship would be grand. I hope they think that would be cool because I plan on heading out there to the peninsula several hundred times this year. Man, I love the Hoh river and I want my kids to see what I see as one of the last great places on earth.

So who knows, maybe we will remain in touch. Just hope I don't have to do neuro checks on him in the middle of the night again.

Matt Burke