Bellingham Police Vehicle Totaled in Crash Caused by Suspected Drunk Driver
As reported by skagitbreaking.com, a Bellingham Police Department (BPD) Crime Scene Investigators vehicle was totaled early on December 5, 2020 – around 2 o’clock in the morning at the intersection of Barkley and Orleans Street. The collision was caused by a suspected drunk driver: an 18-year old male who was driving a pick-up truck. The violent crash was immediately preceded by running a red light while driving over the speed limit. Upon impact, the BPD truck was sent spinning 180 degrees from the path it had been travelling. The at-fault driver’s truck was also totaled in the accident.
Bellingham Police vehicle totaled in crash caused by suspected drunk driver
After the accident occurred, the driver fled the scene without stopping to check on the officer or his 17-year old passenger (who was also intoxicated). A BPD K-9 team was called in to track the driver but he was located by another officer who took him into custody without incident. He was booked into jail for DUI and hit and run. The 17-year-old passenger was cited for MIP and released to family.
Neither the driver nor his passenger was injured in the accident but the BPD officer suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The laceration and concussion he suffered were treated at the ER and he was released a few hours later.
Factors affecting the crash
There are several factors affecting the collision:
Driving under the influence
A drunk driving accident is when a collision occurs because of an alcohol-impaired driver. Drunk driving accidents are responsible for thousands of personal injuries and fatalities every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are an average of 30 fatalities per day caused by alcohol-related crashes. In this case, the driver and his passenger were both also under the legal age for consuming alcohol.
Running a red light
A driver has “run a red light” if their vehicle enters an intersection any time after the traffic signal light has turned red. In Washington State, running a red light is considered a traffic infraction and can result in a fine of up to $48 plus other fees.
Local authorities set speed limits to keep drivers safe while driving but thousands choose to speed anyway. As a result, speeding is a major factor in traffic deaths and injuries. According to data from NSC, speeding was a primary cause of 8,447 motor vehicle accidents and represented 26 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2018. According to IIHS.org, about 9,500 lives could be spared if all drivers followed speed limits and slowed down in bad road conditions. The driver in this accident was speeding, which almost certainly added to the severity of the accident.
Hit and run
A crash may be considered hit and run if the driver leaves the scene before a report can be made. In this case, the property damage, the injured driver and the safety of his own passenger needed to be addressed with police before the driver left the scene. It’s important to understand that the initial accident may not be a crime but if a person is unlicensed or intoxicated, they could end up facing criminal charges as did the driver in this case. Fleeing the scene is a serious crime but, in the moment, many feel it is easier to run then face other consequences. In Washington State, fleeing the scene of an accident is considered a criminal offense.
Seek the help of a car accident attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced car accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!