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Fatal Deputy Crash Investigation

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BURBANK, Wash. - The investigation continues into what happened in an accident killing a Walla Walla County Deputy.

Thursday the intersection at Highway 12 and State Route 124 looks likes it would any other average day. But on the afternoon of February 6th commuters saw a much more tragic scene.

Walla Walla Deputy Michael Estes was responding to a 911 call when his patrol car got slammed by a flat bed truck driver. Yesterday Estes died of head trauma from the crash.

Investigators said they probably won't know why the crash happened for some time to come.

"We have to evaluate what all the witnesses said, examine all the physical evidence, and then do a thorough reconstruction of the whole event and that takes quite a bit of time," said Sgt. Jerry Cooper, Washington State Patrol Major Accident Investigation Team.   

Here's what investigators know so far.  

28-year-old truck driver Shawn Miller was traveling Southeast on Highway 12. Estes was trying to cross the intersection.

Miller crashed into Estes' patrol car on his passenger side traveling at 60 mph, forcing both cars off the side of the road.

Cooper said Miller had the green light, but Estes was flashing his emergency signals. Cooper said neither driver was under the influence, and Miller wasn't speeding.

But investigators still want to know when or if both men saw each other? Did other cars obstruct their view? And they need more witnesses to come forward.

"The more folks that can identify where they were, what they saw or even what they may have heard about the crash. It answers some of those difficult questions that otherwise we may not know," Cooper said.  

He said he doesn't anticipate to determine the cause for another two months.

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