NOOKSACK - A Nooksack resident faces deportation after pleading guilty to causing a crash that injured three people in rural Whatcom County, his public defender said Thursday, May 16.
A southbound Chevrolet Blazer driven by Norberto Bravo-Vasquez, 56, didn't stop at the intersection of East Badger and Van Buren roads the morning of Feb. 4. He missed a stop sign and slammed into a westbound Acura at full speed, sending two Chilliwack, B.C., women to St. Joseph hospital.
One of the women had fractures to her right arm, left leg and back, according to charging documents filed in Whatcom County Superior Court.
An eastbound Jeep Cherokee - with a mother and two children inside - had slowed down for a left turn onto Van Buren. The force of the collision with the Blazer sent the Acura head on into the Jeep. The mother suffered head and neck pain, but the kids were OK.
The Blazer barreled through a fence, then struck a tree. Bravo-Vasquez wasn't wearing a seat belt. The impact threw him from the vehicle, but his injuries weren't life-threatening.
Bravo-Vasquez, who lived on Hayes Street in Nooksack, told state troopers that he didn't have a driver's license or identification. He added that he doesn't usually drive, according to the charges.
The intersection has a yellow warning sign before the stop sign. Investigators found no skid marks from the Blazer at the scene.
Neither drugs nor alcohol were involved in the crash.
After spending 100 nights in jail, Bravo-Vasquez pleaded guilty Thursday, through an interpreter, to charges of reckless driving and fourth-degree assault, both misdemeanors. The rest of his one-year jail term has been suspended.
As part of his plea, he must cover medical bills for the women, but the amount of restitution has not been calculated.
Bravo-Vasquez has been transferred to federal custody, so he can face hearings for his immigration status. His public defender, Shoshana Paige, told the court she expects he will be deported because of the convictions.
He had no criminal history in Washington state.