‘Dynamic’ Makah elder dies in head-on crash; other driver in critical condition
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In this photo provided by the Washington State Patrol, a 2003 Ford Taurus, left, driven by Mary Jo Butterfield, reportedly crossed the centerline of state Highway 112 and collided with a 1999 Nissan Sentra driven by Randee R. Murdoch, troopers said.

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

SEKIU — A Makah elder was killed and a Sekiu woman was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with major leg injuries Wednesday after a head-on collision between two cars on state Highway 112.

Mary Jo Butterfield, 81, of Neah Bay was pronounced dead at Forks Community Hospital, the State Patrol confirmed Wednesday afternoon.

“It looks like the woman who died crossed the centerline into the path of the other vehicle,” said Trooper Russ Winger, State Patrol spokesman

The injured driver was identified as Randee R. Murdoch, 24, of Sekiu.

She was listed in critical condition at Harborview as of Wednesday afternoon, according to a Harborview spokeswoman.

The wreck occurred on state Highway 112 near Milepost 10 and the intersection with Vista Drive.

Butterfield was a tribal elder, a former member of the Makah Tribal Council and an active member of the Makah Tribal Senior Center, said June Williams, who worked with Butterfield on the senior center committee and on community projects.

“That woman was very dynamic. She was a lady before her time,” Williams said.

She also was a foster parent and worked with schools and youth, she said.

Williams said she was working with Butterfield on a project to work with teenage girls, a program that was supposed to begin over the holidays, she said.

“She will really be missed. She had so many ideas for our community,” Williams said.

There were no passengers with either driver, Winger said.

The wreck was reported at 9:53 a.m., and the investigation was continuing well into the afternoon, he said.

Initially, both lanes of traffic were closed, but one lane was reopened for alternating traffic during the investigation.

The road was fully reopened at about 3 p.m., Winger said.

Firefighters from Clallam County Fire District No. 5 responded to the wreck and were assisted by paramedics from the Neah Bay Fire Department, said District No. 5 Fire Chief Patricia Hutson.

Highway 112 is known as the Strait of Juan de Fuca Scenic Highway and links Port Angeles with Neah Bay along the Strait of Juan de Fuca coastline.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 30. 2013 7:12PM
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