Officer Robin McCuistion, a 13-year veteran of the Kent Police Department and lover of slot cars, died in a car crash early Thursday morning...

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Officer Robin McCuistion, a 13-year veteran of the Kent Police Department and lover of slot cars, died in a car crash early Thursday morning while off-duty. He was 53.

The snowy weather may have contributed to the crash, Kent police said, though information about the circumstances of the crash was limited.

Officer McCuistion was driving to his Pierce County home when his car left the roadway on Kersey Way Southeast in Auburn, rolled down an embankment and hit a tree at about 12:25 a.m. He died at the scene, according to Kent police.

Lt. Pat Lowery said he worked with Officer McCuistion as his supervisor and knew him as a considerate, hardworking officer.

Officer McCuistion worked a day shift for the bulk of his career, Lowery said, which meant he dealt firsthand with community members.

“He was kind of a charismatic person and got along well with people,” Lowery said, adding that Officer McCuistion was a reliable worker. “You could consistently count on him to be out there and doing the job and being willing to take on some tasks and assignments that weren’t so glamorous but yet had to be done.”

Dan Parris, of Kent, a friend of Officer McCuistion’s, said outside of work, Officer McCuistion poured his energy into slot cars — toy cars that move in a slot around a track.

He and Parris met about a year and a half ago on a website about slot cars and became instant friends. They opened a slot-car shop in Edgewood, called Pacific Slot Car Raceways.

Officer McCuistion had been feeling lonely after his children grew up and left home, Parris said, but that changed when he opened his business.

Officer McCuistion was a quiet person, but he made hundreds of friends through the shop, and he gradually came out of his shell, Parris said.

“He realized how many people cared for him,” Parris said. “He had an excellent sense of humor and we laughed a lot.”

The point of the shop wasn’t to make money, Parris said, but rather to have fun.

“We’d be worried about business and doing certain things, and we’d get so busy and we’d have to stop and say, ‘Are we having fun?’ ” Parris said. “And we did.”

Officer McCuistion was working at his slot-car business late Wednesday night shipping products to Switzerland, Parris said.

He offered to let a co-worker, Jim Radford, sleep at his house in Lake Tapps, Parris said, so Radford wouldn’t have to drive home to Port Orchard in the snow.

Radford was following Officer McCuistion’s car but stopped for a red light at the bottom of a hill, Parris said.

Police then blocked off the snowy hill before Radford could go up, Parris said, so Officer McCuistion went back down the hill to give Radford alternate directions. That’s when he crashed.

“He was an excellent driver,” said Parris, who manages the slot-car shop. “He had all-wheel drive. I’m sure he didn’t think anything of it. It’s just one of those freak things.”

Officer McCuistion is survived by his wife, Diane McCuistion, of Lake Tapps, and three adult children, Ian McCuistion of Hawaii, Robbie McCuistion of Seattle and Lauren McCuistion of New Mexico. Services are pending.

Olivia Bobrowsky: 206-464-3195 or