Longtime Kitsap County volunteer firefighter, Seattle-to-Portland bike ride medic, father, grandfather and husband Joe Vlach died July 2 while biking near Poulsbo. He was 77.
Our condolences to his friends and family.
Vlach was on a training ride to get ready for STP when he reportedly collided with someone driving while making a left turn from the southbound SR 3 offramp to eastbound SR 308. The collision is still under investigation.
KOMO produced a good report about Vlach and all the ways he had an impact on his community:
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.
The Kitsap Fire Department released this statement, posted by Q13 News:
We are saddened to say that Lt. Joe Vlach a longtime volunteer of 33 years has passed away as the result of a bicycle accident yesterday. We are all in a state of disbelief that we have lost this man, a great member of the department, grandfather, dad and loving husband. He was a loved member of the community and a careless giver of his time to others, he has touched many members of the community and will be missed.
Here’s the interchange where the collision occurred. Most media reports include a statement from Washington State Patrol blaming Vlach for not stopping at the stop sign, which is unusual since the collision is still under investigation.