BELLINGHAM - A Whatcom County woman was airlifted to a Seattle hospital Tuesday morning, Oct. 22, after her minivan T-boned a semi truck's trailer.
Wendy L. Kimmel, 48, of the Maple Falls area, didn't slow in time for a stop sign at 10:49 a.m. as she headed south on Everson-Goshen Road near Mount Baker Highway, according to the Washington State Patrol. Her Chevrolet Venture van hit the back of a westbound tractor-trailer on the highway. The impact "ricocheted" the Chevy into the south wall of a garage at 2098 Mount Baker Highway, witnesses said.
Firefighters had to cut away the driver's side door of the mangled van to free Kimmel. She wasn't conscious when firefighters loaded her into an ambulance. She was flown to Harborview Medical Center with serious head injuries.
A 14-year-old boy in the van was treated at St. Joseph hospital for minor injuries. Witnesses at the scene believed they were family, but authorities weren't able to confirm how they knew each other.
Troopers don't believe drugs or alcohol were involved. They are still investigating the reason Kimmel didn't stop at the intersection, and whether Kimmel and the boy were wearing seat belts. Charges were listed as pending.
At the time of the crash, the stretch of highway was enveloped in thick fog.
The driver of the semi, Bernhard Mayer, of Kitchener, Ontario, wasn't hurt. He had a seat belt on.
A Ford F-150 in the garage sustained about $1,000 damage.