Kitsap County volunteer firefighter killed in cycling accident
POULSBO, Wash. – On Sunday, 77-year-old Joe Vlach was killed in a cyclist accident just outside Poulsbo.
He was hit by a car near the intersection of State Route 308 and State Route 3 in Kitsap County.
“Last night I sat in this chair and I watched the driveway, waited for my dad to drive in on his bike,” said Vlach’s son, Scott on Tuesday.
According to the Washington State Patrol, initial signs indicate Vlach failed to yield at a stop sign before being hit.
Vlach, a Poulsbo resident, has volunteered for the Poulsbo Fire Department for the last 33 years.
“Gonna be a huge hole to fill, and I don’t know how we’re going to do it,” said Volunteer Battalion Chief Kurt Krech.
Nicknamed ‘Nice Guy Joe’, Vlach also served in the Gulf War as well as the U.S. Coast Guard.
‘He always wanted to help somebody,” said Vlach’s wife Cherie.
Vlach was training for a Seattle to Portland bike ride when he was hit Sunday. He later died at Harborview Medical Center.
There was no impairment found with the driver of the vehicle involved. The incident is still under investigation.
Vlach often participated in the annual 4th of July parade in Keyport, driving a vintage Model T fire truck.
In his place, friend Pete Matuschak drove in his honor.
“It’s all about Joe,” said Matuschak. “This is Joe’s day.”