Search ends, memories shared and safe travels

  • Thu Aug 16th, 2018 12:08pm
  • News

A few weeks ago I re-shared the story of Jacob Gray and his disappearance in April 2017. Jacob’s mother Laura had been in the area the end of July hoping to find clues as to what had happened to him.

This week page 3 offers an answer in a story that tells that a body was found over the weekend believed to be Jacob, and a press release from Olympic National Park that came in Monday afternoon seems to confirm that.

It stated, “The clothing and equipment matched the description of items related to missing 22-year old Jacob Gray of Port Townsend, Wa. The remains are being transferred to the local medical examiner’s office for positive identification.

This is an active investigation and once it is complete more details will be released.

‘Our deepest sympathies go out to the Gray family and friends in this difficult time,’ said (Olympic National Park) Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.

Gray left home on the evening of April 5, 2017. On the afternoon of April 6, Gray’s unattended bicycle and gear were found on the side of Sol Duc Road. Law enforcement rangers conducted a hasty search of the area which included the Sol Duc River bank. Larger inter-agency search efforts focused on the river corridor turned up no indication of his whereabouts.”

Thanks to those Forks Forum readers that reached out after the article was published hoping to help solve the mystery.

Forks Forum readers

It always amazes me the number of people that are former Forks residents that still subscribe to the Forks Forum. There is something about Forks that sticks with you!

Anyway, I was contacted a few weeks ago by Tom Groenewal. He shared the following message: “I lived in Forks for two years back in the early 90s and kept a journal of romps in the forests and beaches. After inquiring with the school district about volunteering they made me an emergency substitute teacher, which eventually led to me to Evergreen (State College) and a teaching certificate and 24 years of teaching in Olympia.

My time in Forks was some of the most splendid years of my life and recently I brought my journal back to life. I am inquiring if you might consider running short entries in the Forks Forum, to which I continue to subscribe. I am including a short example.”

So I emailed Tom back and said sure. His short example was interesting and I am always interested in the experiences of a newcomer to Forks. So if you want to read Tom’s first journal entry, it is on page 16 in this week’s Forum.

Thanks to Tom for reaching out. It was a funny coincidence that, just after talking to him, I was looking through an old Forks Forum and found a photo of Tom and a big fish! He said his photo in the paper had something to do with losing a bet with his father from New Jersey … maybe he will write about it?

DUI emphasis

Law enforcement agencies across Washington will increase DUI (Driving Under the Influence) patrols Aug. 17 through Sept. 3 to keep drivers safe during what is typically the deadliest time of the year on the state’s roadways.

The Clallam and Jefferson County Target Zero Task Force, police departments and sheriff’s offices from Port Angeles, Sequim, Port Townsend, Jefferson County and Clallam County, and the Washington State Patrol will participate in the emphasis patrols in search of drivers under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Drivers impaired by alcohol, marijuana and other drugs are involved in nearly half of all traffic deaths in Washington. In 2017 alone, 250 people were killed in such crashes.

A new Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) report provides insights into what has become the most common form of driver impairment — poly-drug use (two or more drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs). Beginning in 2012, the number of poly-drug impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes has increased by an average of 15 percent every year.

As of 2016, one in four of all Washington traffic deaths involve a poly-drug impaired driver. The most common combination is alcohol and marijuana.

Misconceptions about marijuana use, especially among young drivers, could be one factor in this trend. A statewide roadside survey included in the WTSC report shows that of the young drivers (ages 15-20) who admit to driving after marijuana use, more than half believe marijuana makes their driving better!

WTSC is encouraging people to “Make a Plan Before You Party” in order to get home safe.

Christi Baron