Friends pull together to help couple injured in crash

It was supposed to be a quick weekend away for Iva and Randy Madison back in July, with a ride out to the beach on the motorcycle modified for Randy’s neck injury. Instead, they barely made it five minutes outside McCleary before a driver suspected of being drunk, struck their trike then left the scene.

Friends of the longtime McCleary residents have pulled together to help the Madisons as they recover from their injuries. Volunteers have stepped up to care for their horses, chickens and garden, set up a workstation for Iva to work from home with her neck brace, and organized a poker run to raise funds. On Saturday, a spaghetti feed, dance and silent auction will be held at the McCleary VFW Hall.

Linda Brookhouser has known the couple nearly 40 years, since Randy introduced her to her husband, Rick.

“They’re good people,” she said. Randy has been on disability from his job as a truck driver for about a year, and “this accident has really made it 10 times worse,” Brookhouser said.

Iva has been a bus driver for the McCleary School District for more than 20 years. When the couple was hit, her neck was injured and her arm required extensive surgery, Brookhouser said. Doctors have told her the recovery could take as long as nine months. The school district has worked with her to find ways to work from home on office tasks like scheduling, and Iva has three months of sick leave saved up, but if her recovery becomes lengthy it’s going to become tough to bring money into the house, Brookhouser said.

An account has been set up for the Madisons at Our Community Credit Union, and donations can be made at any branch. This Saturday’s event starts with a spaghetti feed from 6-8 p.m. for $7 for dinner and dessert. The silent auction will run from 6-9 p.m. Admission to a dance from 8 p.m. to midnight featuring Ken Drake and the Black Sand Band is $10.

Daniel D. Cultee, a 48-year-old Shelton man, has pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular assault and one count of hit and run injury accident as a result of hitting the couple on July 24. According to court documents, Cultee entered the Madisons’ lane and struck them.

After the accident, Cultee left the scene on foot. He told investigators “that people at the scene were yelling at him so he walked away figuring an officer would find him,” according to court documents.

Cultee was found walking west of the scene by a Washington State Patrol trooper who said Cultee was “obviously intoxicated and had blood on his person,” court documents stated. A blood test showed Cultee’s Blood Alcohol Content at 0.11 percent within two hours of driving.

Cultee told police he saw the motorcycle pull out of a driveway when it seemed to stall and apparently “lurched forward.” He said he thought it was crossing into his lane, swerved into the oncoming lane to avoid the motorcycle, then tried to correct back into his lane.

Witnesses to the accident told police Cultee told them he fell asleep at the wheel, and at least one witness claimed to smell alcohol on Cultee.

Cultee told police he had not been drinking and did not feel sleepy at the time of the accident. He will be sentenced Oct. 8.

For more information on the spaghetti feed or for advance tickets, call Brookhouser at 470-8692.