Trooper's car side-swiped by Blaine driver in Snohomish County

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDApril 25, 2014 

MARYSVILLE - A driver from Whatcom County side-swiped a state trooper's patrol car Friday, April 25, on the left shoulder of Interstate 5 near Marysville.

Phillip J. Castellano, 35, of Blaine, reached into a lunch pail at 8:04 a.m. while northbound on I-5. That distracted him enough for his dark gray 2003 Volkswagen Jetta to drift or swerve over the fog line of the left shoulder, said Trooper Mark Francis.

The front driver's side of the Jetta "kissed" the passenger's side of a state patrol car parked along the freeway, near the exit to the Tulalip casino, Francis said.

A trooper had just pulled over another car. He'd gotten out to talk with that driver - leaving his car's emergency lights on - at the moment the Jetta hit the 2008 Ford Crown Victoria.

No one was hurt.

Both cars had to be towed from the scene. Damage to the Crown Victoria doesn't look too serious on the surface, but it won't steer and could have thousands of dollars in damage to the axle, Francis said.

The Jetta had a shredded front tire and denting around the wheel well.

Charges against Castellano were pending Friday. He's suspected of distracted driving and failing to yield in an emergency zone. Drugs and alcohol weren't involved.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or caleb.hutton@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Dispatcher Blog at bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher-blog or follow him on Twitter at @bhamcrime.

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