Car plows into Tri-County Diesel Marine on Roeder Avenue

Posted by CALEB HUTTON on December 4, 2013 

See below for update.

BELLINGHAM — A man who crashed his car through the wall of a boat engine shop Wednesday, Dec. 4, could face a charge of negligent driving, according to police.

Three witnesses told Bellingham Traffic Officer Bill Medlen the driver of the Nissan Sentra didn't come to a stop at 4:28 p.m. as he exited the parking lot of Bellingham Cold Storage and turned onto Roeder Avenue. The Sentra struck the back passenger side of an eastbound Saab 900, spinning the faded blue-gray Saab around.

The Sentra kept going straight for another 100 feet — possibly because the driver hit the accelerator rather than the brake, Medlen said — before plowing into the side of Tri-County Diesel Marine, 2696 Roeder Ave.

Wayne Stewart, a 10-year employee who was working the front counter at the time, said he didn't hear anything out of the ordinary until the bang of the Sentra crashing through the wall. The driver had a cut near his eye but no serious injuries. He didn't need to go to the hospital.

No one inside the business was injured, and the woman driving the Saab wasn't hurt either. Motor oil and and slick pinkish chemicals coated the floor. The car came to a rest against a large expensive generator. An exact damage estimate for the business wasn't available, but it will easily be in the thousands of dollars, police said. Tri-County Diesel Marine specializes in boat engines and transmissions.

The Sentra driver, a man in his 20s, won't be ticketed until officers can more thoroughly investigate evidence from the scene. That could be as soon as tomorrow. At the least, he'll be cited for failing to yield, and he could face a negligent driving charge, Medlen said.

Both cars had to be towed away.

To see photos and a Vine video of the crash scene, click the Twitter links below from our @BhamCrime account.

Update Thursday, Dec. 5. Tri-County Diesel Marine will remain open despite the Sentra-sized hole in the wall, employees said.

The hole has been patched up for the time being with plywood. It's still not clear how much it will cost, or how long it will take, to fix.

As of 3 p.m., Bellingham police logs don't reflect a citation for the driver.

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