State Patrol: 'Major communication malfunction' in report of crash victim's condition
April 6, 2012 · 10:28 AM
POULSBO — “It was a major malfunction at the communication level there this morning,” Trooper Russ Winger said of an early State Patrol memo that reported a Kingston man had died of injuries from a car crash on Viking Avenue early Friday.
“We’re putting out a retraction on the memo. The good news is that he’s not dead.”
Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman Susan Gregg said at 10 a.m. Friday that Nicholas R. Fogle, 25, of Kingston is in critical condition in ICU.
Winger traced the error in the State Patrol’s report to shortly after the crash, which occurred shortly before 2 a.m. Fogle, whose identity was not known at the time, was taken to Harrison Medical Center, then transferred by Airlift Northwest at 2:30 a.m. to Harborview. Airlift Northwest confirmed Friday morning that it transferred Fogle to Harborview at 2:30 a.m., but that he was alive upon arrival.
However, “We were operating under the assumption that he had died upon arrival. We don’t know where we got that from. We got that shortly after it occurred,” Winger said.
So when a State Patrol radio operator called Harborview to see if Fogle’s next of kin had been notified, Harborview reportedly said yes, apparently meaning that Fogle’s father was at the hospital.
“When we’re talking about next-of-kin notification, we’re usually talking about someone dying,” Winger said. “There was some cross-up with the communication.”
So the report went out. And Winger found himself handling a flood of phone calls from area media. Several messages on the Herald and Kingston Community News Facebook pages said Fogle was alive and being treated at Harborview.
Getting confirmation of Fogle’s condition was difficult Friday morning, because he arrived as “John Doe.” Harborview's admitting desk had no record of Fogle being admitted there, and Winger didn’t get confirmation of Fogle’s condition until 10 a.m.
Fogle’s car crashed into a tree and rolled on Viking Way and Nordic Cove, near Scandia, at about 1:49 a.m.
Fogle was alone in his car when it crashed and no other vehicles were involved. It was unknown if he was wearing a seatbelt. Alcohol or drugs are believed to have been a factor, State Patrol reported. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
According to the State Patrol report, Fogle was driving a white 1992 Oldsmobile 88 north on Viking Way when the vehicle left the roadway to the right, rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise, struck a small tree and rolled. The vehicle came to rest on its wheels.
— Reporting by Richard Walker, Kipp Robertson and Megan Stephenson of the North Kitsap Herald