Man who was in north-end ferry dock accident speaks out

Islander Kenneth Sudduth, whose accident at the north-end ferry dock Aug. 28 garnered much local attention, completed serving a six-month prison sentence and returned to Vashon last week.

His sentence stemmed from a drug use conviction that was several years old, and upon Sudduth’s return to the Island, he told a reporter he wanted to convey his remorse to the Island.

His stint in a Monroe correctional facility helped put him on the right path, he said, and he’s looking forward to a life free of addiction, which he had struggled with for four years.

“I was a drug user, and I’m done with that,” said Sudduth, 41. “I’m not using any of that as an excuse, but I’m saying I’m sorry for that.”

Looking back on the day the truck he was driving lost its brakes as he descended to the north-end ferry carrying 5,000 pounds of scrap metal, Sudduth said he thinks he made the best decisions given his circumstances.

With no way to stop, he had to think quickly, he said.

“All I could see was the bull, telephone pole and trash can” at the end of the dock, he said. He headed straight for these items and collided with them, knocking a small vehicle, or “bull,” into the water.

Immediately following the collision, Sudduth jumped into the water next to the ferry dock.

News reports that day suggested that Sudduth jumped because he had an outstanding warrant and no driver’s license, but he dismissed that as a rumor.

He “went straight toward the side and jumped in to soothe the pain” he felt because of injuries sustained in the collision, he said.

He had facial trauma resulting in hundreds of stitches from the accident, he said, and jumped into the water instinctually, not in an attempt to flee apprehension.

“There were no police behind me, and I certainly wasn’t running from any policemen,” Sudduth said.

He added that the day was a sobering one, during which he realized that the descent to the north-end ferry is inherently unsafe.

“That’s a dangerous place right there,” he said. “If you go down the hill and lose your brakes, what will happen? There should be something you should crash into. I look back on that, and what else could I have done?”

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