Deputy will retire as disabled after crash

No other penalty for causing wreck while unconscious

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ABERDEEN — The Grays Harbor County Sheriff's deputy who struck an oncoming vehicle on state Highway 109 back in July will not be charged or reprimanded, but will leave the department through medical disability retirement, Sheriff Rick Scott said.

Deputy Richard Cork, 55, lost consciousness in a medical event, according to the Washington State Patrol investigation. At about 10:20 p.m. July 8, Cork crossed the center line of Highway 109 about 10 miles north of Hoquiam and stuck a 30-year-old Aberdeen woman driving the opposite direction.

The State Patrol investigated the incident.

"The conclusion was certainly no surprise. Obviously deputy Cork was at fault as far as the accident itself is concerned, since it was his vehicle that crossed the center line," Scott said.

He has been on leave since the collision.

"Until we could be assured that he could be fit for duty, including that they had identified the cause and made sure it couldn't happen again, he would not return to duty," Scott explained.

After months of testing, doctors recently found a combination of medical conditions caused the crash. "Doctors determined those medical conditions will prevent his ever returning to full service," Scott said.

For that reason, Scott said, Cork applied for disability retirement and will likely leave the department within the next month. Cork is a 26-year veteran with the department.

"He will be separating from service here in the near future, and that is the result of it being medically based. No further action will be taken by our office or the State Patrol," he said.