The investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of a man, who jumped from an overpass onto Interstate 5 in Blaine early Wednesday and was hit possibly by a semitrailer, continues and authorities have yet to develop leads.
The driver of the vehicle fled the scene, according to the Washington State Patrol.
Dennis D. Hill, 59, jumped from the Hughes Avenue overpass at 12:23 a.m. Wednesday. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
To flee the scene of a deadly crash is a felony, but whether there will be charges lodged against the driver is yet to be determined, pending investigation, said WSP Trooper Heather Axtman. It’s possible the driver may not have realized he or she hit a person, Axtman said.
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“If it is a semi driver, really who knows if (they thought) they hit a person as opposed to maybe some debris. It’s a dark area of the roadway, very late at night or early morning. The chance of a person knowing might be pretty slim,” Axtman said Friday.
She said whether the driver knew could possibly impact charges, but that would be determined by the prosecutor.
The road was closed for several hours Wednesday. Hughes Avenue is about 2 miles south of the U.S.-Canada border. It is unclear whether the driver entered Canada or not, Axtman said.
Bridge height at that location is 16 feet 11 inches, according to the state Department of Transportation. There are highway cameras in place, but the cameras don’t record unless the DOT is instructed to do so, Axtman said.
Hill was likely struck at highway speed, and his identification required either fingerprint or dental matching due to the condition of his body, according to Dr. Gary Goldfogel, Whatcom County medical examiner. Goldfogel added that Hill had a history of depression.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Washington State Patrol at 360-654-1200.
Hill was a Blaine resident who spent about a decade working in the real estate market. During his time at Windermere as a real estate agent, Hill would often help with various service projects, such as the Boys and Girls Club or Lydia Place, said Wynden Holman, general manager for Windermere and a 20-year friend of Hill’s.
Lydia Place provides transitional housing and other services for homeless women and children.
“He was a great guy,” Holman said. “He was always happy and fun to be around and positive. He was known by a lot of people in the community.”
Hill also had an affinity for sports. He frequented games and knew many of the coaches in Whatcom County. He also was a former owner of the Pastime Tavern in Blaine, and sold aerial photos of people's properties.