Woman dies driving off Anacortes Ferry Landing dock; ferry service to mainland resumes

An Everett woman, 30, died when she drove off the dock at the Anacortes Ferry Landing on the morning of Thursday, Jan. 25. The terminal was closed for four hours while emergency crews responded. The regular winter ferry service schedule resumed the next day.

According to Washington State Patrol, Nicole K. Barney drove a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee through multiple barriers and into the water at approximately 9:45 a.m. The Jeep was recovered at approximately 2 p.m.

The Skagit County Sheriff’s Office responded by sending a dive team. Additionally, a dive team from border patrol assisted, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard.

At 2:20 p.m., Washington State Patrol confirmed that Barney was found in the recovered vehicle.

A WSP Trooper Heather Axtman told KOMO reporters that Barney entered the staging lines at approximately 7:50 a.m. and parked the vehicle. She then drove the Jeep back toward the ticket booth but then U-turned back around and returned to the staging area where she parked again.

Witness accounts stated that Barney was stopped for a couple minutes before accelerating at a high rate of speed down the dock and into the water.

Police have not determined whether she intentionally drove off the dock or was had a medical emergency.

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas, had the following to say about the day’s events: “I’m saddened to hear of this emergency situation and hope that rescue operations can keep everyone safe. My thanks to Washington State Patrol and US Coast Guard to responding quickly for search and rescue operations with Washington State Ferries. We will keep everyone impacted in our hearts and thoughts today.”