SOUTH KITSAP — To call Katie Phillips a good Samaritan wouldn’t have been unusual for her friends. She had been labeled a “kind, loving, full of joy and a completely unforgettable person” by Jessie Early on Facebook, a friend who knew her.
So, the fact that Phillips stopped to help a stranded motorist on a rainy, dark road at 5 a.m. on March 22 after completing a Washington State Ferries night shift at the Southworth ferry dock probably wouldn’t have come as a surprise to her friends and coworkers.
Not only did Phillips stop to help the anxious driver in the westbound lane of Peppermill Place Southeast and Sedgwick Road, she drove to a nearby gas station to top a can with fuel, then returned to refill the disabled car’s tank so that the motorist could restart her journey.
What happened to Phillips as she was refilling the car’s tank was not only a tragic accident, it was an unforgivable act of felony homicide, according to Washington State Patrol Trooper Russ Winger.
“It was a tragedy,” Winger said on March 22, the day of the accident. “If they’d stopped, that’s all it would have been. Now we’re looking at a homicide felony hit-and-run. We’re just hoping they can reverse that. The quicker they come in, the quicker they make it known that is was them, the better off they’d be.”
In her Facebook post, Early said Phillips leaves behind a husband and two boys, a teenager and a 6-year-old.
“She will be greatly missed,” she added.
On March 23, Amy Scarton, the Washington State Ferries assistant secretary of WSDOT/Ferries Division, issued this statement about their employee’s death:
“On Thursday, we lost a beloved member of the WSF family, on-call Terminal Attendant Katie Phillips. I would like to express my deepest condolences to Katie’s family and friends. I have heard from many of her fellow employees who described how wonderful she was to work with and how she was always willing to lend a helping hand. Her positive presence at the Southworth terminal will never be forgotten.”
Early said a https://www.gofundme.com/helpouribusister account was set up by Joe Grabicki to help support Phillips’ family. As of Tuesday, March 27, $8,649 has been raised by the account.
A memorial account also has been established for Phillips through Washington State Employee Credit Union. The website is wsecu.org and account number is 6906984. You also can call the credit union at 800-562-0999 for assistance.