WSP identifies motorcyclist who died Saturday

La Center man lost control of motorcycle, was flung off

By Stevie Mathieu, Columbian Assistant Metro Editor



A La Center man died in a traffic collision on Interstate 5 on Saturday night after he lost control of the motorcycle he was driving, was flung from the motorcycle and struck by a nearby car, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The crash occurred at 8:47 p.m. just south of the Gee Creek Rest Area and two miles south of Ridgefield. State Patrol say that’s when John T. Harlan, 53, was driving a green 2001 Kawasaki KL650 northbound in the interstate’s center lane and “lost control and laid down his motorcycle.”

Harlan was thrown onto the roadway and hit by a northbound Honda Civic driven by an unnamed 16-year-old boy from Battle Ground, according to State Patrol. The teen driving the Civic swerved to avoid the motorcycle in the road, and his car struck Harlan.

An off-duty paramedic who arrived on scene began administering CPR before rescue crews arrived, according to emergency radio traffic monitored Saturday night by The Columbian.

Harlan, who was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, died at the scene. The teen was wearing his seat belt and was not injured.

The collision did not involve a third vehicle, as previously reported by The Columbian.

The crash closed two lanes of the freeway for more than two hours as emergency crews responded and police investigated the crash.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, but drugs or alcohol were not a factor and no charges or citations were issued, according to State Patrol.