Former 'Ax Men' star killed in Port Angeles wreck

Dan Huff, assistant fire chief of Clallam County Fire District No. 2, spreads liquid absorbant at the scene of a multi-vehicle collision on U.S. Highway 101 west of Port Angeles, Wash., on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, that resulted in the death of former reality television personality Gabe Rygaard, president of Rygaard Logging Inc., a timber-felling company featured in History Channel's "Ax Men." Rygaard was later pronounced dead at Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, the Peninsula Daily News reported. (AP, Keith Thorpe/The Peninsula Daily News via AP)

PORT ANGELES — Gabe Rygaard, a reality TV star and former Clallam County commissioner candidate, was killed in a 9:22 a.m. wreck involving three vehicles on U.S. Highway 101 a quarter-mile east of Laird Road, west of Port Angeles.

Rygaard’s father, Craig, confirmed this afternoon that his son, a Port Angeles native and a 1989 Port Angeles High School graduate, died in the crash. He was 45.

Clallam Fire District No. 2 Assistant Chief Dan Huff reported that the driver of a Ford Bronco died at Olympic Medical Center as a result of injuries from the wreck.

Huff reported that a total of seven people in three vehicles were injured in the wreck.

All the others sustained only minor injuries, were treated at the scene and were released.

The State Patrol later identified Rygaard as the driver of the Bronco.

According to the State Patrol, Rygaard’s 1995 Ford Bronco was behind a black Chevrolet Tahoe traveling east in the second lane of U.S. Highway 101 near milepost 243.

The Tahoe started slowing to a stop, said the report, and Rygaard’s Bronco veered to the left and struck the rear of the Tahoe.

The Bronco rotated and struck a Dodge Ram van, which was traveling west in the opposing lane.

The State Patrol report said Rygaard was not wearing a seat belt.

Eleven personnel responded from District 2 along with an engine, two ambulances and a command vehicle, Huff said.

Lanes of Highway 101 were closed until about 3 p.m. and traffic was detoured near Laird Road.

Rygaard ran as a Republican in the primary for the District 2 county commissioner seat being vacated by Mike Chapman. He did not advance from the Aug. 2 primary to the general election.

He was featured on History Channel’s recently canceled reality TV series “Ax Men.”

His family-owned Rygaard Logging Inc. was featured on the show.

Rygaard was owner-operator of of Rygaard Logging Inc. and owner of Ryfield Properties Inc. in Port Angeles and Penny Creek Quarry in Quilcene.

The Peninsula Daily News is a KOMO News partner. You can read this story at the Peninsula Daily News here.

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