Thurston County Sheriff returns to action after terrifying crash

Apr 13, 2023, 3:58 PM

thurston county sheriff...

Thurston County Sheriff Derek Sanders was cleared to return to the job after a scary collision left him hospitalized. (Photo courtesy of Sheriff Sanders on Instagram)

(Photo courtesy of Sheriff Sanders on Instagram)

Derek Sanders, already having an eventful term as Thurston County sheriff, was cleared to return to the job after a scary collision that left him hospitalized.

On April 2, Sanders decided to work a patrol day shift. He even made an Instagram post stating his intentions.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Derek Sanders (@sheriffsanders)

Sanders made an arrest early in the day while on patrol. Then around 3:30 p.m., a collision was reported at the intersection of Lawrence Lake Rd SE and 153rd Ave SE in Yelm. Sanders was struck by a pickup towing a trailer. The driver was allegedly impaired.

“I have been better, but I can’t complain,” Sanders told The Jason Rantz Show in his first interview since being back on the job. “And I feel pretty fortunate.”

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“I just remember making the radio call that I needed medics,” Sanders said as he recounted the moments after the accident. “I just remember a lady, this civilian kind of rubbing my head. And then I passed out.”

Sanders had to be airlifted to Harborview. Doctors initially weren’t sure about the severity of the injuries.

“While medics were working on me at the scene, I continued to have seizures, and so they feared for a brain bleed or something more significant,” Sanders said.

The medical staff was able to rule out more significant injuries and Sanders was able to leave the hospital. He was diagnosed with a concussion.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Derek Sanders (@sheriffsanders)

“There were just stacks and stacks of get-well cards and all these different things,” Sanders said. “I can’t even begin to say how grateful I am to serve in such an awesome community and to have that support.”

Zachary Roberge was the driver of the other vehicle. The 29-year-old defendant allegedly admitted to consuming methamphetamine less than 24 hours prior to the collision. He is set for arraignment on April 18 for charges of vehicular assault.

“I’ve seen a photo of the collision scene, and it doesn’t look fun,” Sanders said. “I don’t have any ill will towards that other person whatsoever.”

Always worried about road safety, Sanders claimed his involvement in the incident didn’t change any of his views.

Sanders was one of the mouthpieces for the community during a challenging situation just a few months ago when he was instrumental in fighting back against a proposed sex offender house in Tenino. The plans for the home were eventually canceled thanks to public outcry.

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Officers face tremendous amounts of scrutiny, but an incident like this shows the dangers they face every single shift they work. Luckily, tragedy was avoided in this instance and Sanders can continue making Thurston County a safer place to live.

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Thurston County Sheriff returns to action after terrifying crash