Bellingham Street Race Leads to Crash Death of 28-Year-Old Passenger
As reported by whatcom-news.com, a street race in Bellingham, WA the evening of September 28, led to the death of a 28-year old passenger. A police investigation revealed that first responders were called to the intersection of Woburn, Iowa and Yew Streets after a report of a crash about 8:45 p.m. When they arrived, they found a 2007 Dodge Charger resting on its side after colliding with a tree. According to the report, witnesses reported seeing two cars traveling east on Iowa Street involved in a street race and when they passed the intersection, one of the cars lost control and crashed into a tree.
The 24-year-old driver, who was later transported by ambulance to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center to treat his injuries, was out walking around when police arrived. His 28-year-old passenger stayed in the car with critical injuries and was eventually declared dead at the scene.
According to the report, the driver showed signs of intoxication and the investigation provided probable cause to arrest and charge him with suspicion of vehicular homicide, driving under the influence, and driving while his license was suspended.
Factors involved in street race crash death
There are three specific factors involved in this car accident that may have contributed to the fatality: a rollover crash, speeding, and driving under the influence.
A rollover crash is when a vehicle crashes into something and then rolls over onto its side or head before coming to a stop. Rollover crashes have a very high fatality rate compared to other types of crashes. Supported by data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are six main factors that contribute to the risk of vehicle rollover accidents. These are:
- The type of vehicle (SUVs and vans are more susceptible)
- Driving on rural roads (because they lack clear divisions and barriers that reduce the risk)
- Driving while intoxicated
- Driving at high speeds
- Routine driving
- Single-vehicle crashes
In this case, there was probable cause to arrest the driver for intoxication and the witness account said that the driver was involved in a street race; covering two of the factors that increase the risk of a rollover crash.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), for more than the past two decades, speeding has been a crash factor in approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities. In 2019, speeding was identified as a contributing factor in 26 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Speed is generally considered to be an exacerbating factor in crashes. It’s important to understand that even small increases in speed can cause a disproportionately bigger increase in the risk of a crash. For example, a five percent increase in average speed leads to approximately a 20 percent increase in fatal crashes. While we don’t know the speed the car was traveling at, it is likely that high-speed was a factor based on the witness account.
Driving under the influence:
According to addictioncenter.com, impaired driving, drunk driving or DUI is when a person drinks alcohol and then operates a motor vehicle before the effects of the alcohol have worn off. A motor vehicle can be a car, truck, bicycle, motorcycle, boat or even a golf cart. In 2017, 10,874 people were killed in drinking and driving car accidents across the U.S., representing about 25 percent of all traffic fatalities that year. In this case, there was probable cause to arrest and charge the driver with driving under the influence.
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, there is help. Call the helpline 1-844-289-0879.
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!