A motorcyclist suffered a severe leg injury when he was struck by an SUV shortly before noon Thursday near the Bellingham waterfront.
A Bellingham Police officer arrived within minutes of the 11:40 a.m. crash on Roeder Avenue/West Chestnut Street at Central Avenue and provided first aid until firefighters arrived.
“Our officer applied a tourniquet and stanched the bleeding,” Officer L.L. Leake said at the scene.
Leake said the motorcyclist, whose name was not released, was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph hospital. He had a severe injury to his lower right leg and was later flown by helicopter to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, said Bellingham Police Lt. Danette Beckley.
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But Leake credited Officer Scott Stewart with possibly saving the motorcyclist’s life.
“It’s quick thinking,” Leake said. “The (SUV driver) put a belt around his leg, too.”
Leake said the crash occurred as the motorcyclist was westbound on Chestnut Street at Central Avenue, where Chestnut becomes Roeder Avenue.
The driver of a black 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser stopped for a stop sign on southbound Central Avenue and then started to turn eastbound on Chestnut Street, into the motorcyclist’s path.
“The motorcyclist swerved to avoid him and struck the front bumper” of the FJ, Leake said.
It appears the motorcycle, a blue Kawasaki Ninja, skidded across the intersection and came to rest against a Jersey barrier in the eastbound lanes of Roeder Avenue.
Photographs and video from the scene show firefighters moving the rider to an ambulance within a few minutes after they arrived.
Leake said he couldn’t comment on the cause of the crash because the investigation was continuing. Beckley said there were no indications of drugs or alcohol use by either driver.
Traffic was detoured around the scene as officers took measurements and interviewed witnesses. The SUV driver, who was not named because he hadn’t been charged with a crime, was cooperating with police, Leake said.
The spelling of Officer Scott Stewart’s name was corrected September 18, 2017