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He was just delivering mail, and he was hit from behind

Lynden firefighters treat the injured postal worker near his truck, called an LLV, at the corner of South Garden and Grover streets east of downtown Lynden on Wednesday, Aug. 23.
Lynden firefighters treat the injured postal worker near his truck, called an LLV, at the corner of South Garden and Grover streets east of downtown Lynden on Wednesday, Aug. 23. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

A 28-year-old U.S. Postal Service carrier was kept for observation overnight at St. Joseph hospital after he was injured in a hit-run crash Wednesday afternoon east of downtown, authorities said.

Police are looking for the driver of a speeding SUV who fled after hitting the carrier’s mail truck from behind. The suspect was described as a white or Hispanic teenager with short black hair, said Lynden Police Chief Jack Foster.

Foster said the vehicle, a 2014 Dodge Durango, had not been reported stolen, but its owner told police the Durango’s keys were lost or stolen Saturday and the owner had seen the vehicle parked where it was left several times since.

An employee at the Lynden post office said the mail carrier was examined at the hospital and might be released Thursday, pending the results of X-rays and a CAT scan.

“You don’t expect somebody to plow into you while you’re putting mail in a box,” said Brent Lawson at the Lynden post office. He said it was lucky that no one was crossing in front of the mail truck.

Foster said the crash happened as the carrier was in the front seat of his truck on South Garden Drive, placing mail into a curbside box about 12:50 p.m. Wednesday. Force of the collision pushed the mail truck 200 feet across the intersection of busy Grover street, and the truck came to rest in a thicket of trees and bushes.

He said the letter carrier, who was wearing his seat belt, was knocked unconscious by the impact, but regained consciousness as he was being examined by Lynden firefighters.

“It hit the back of the mail truck and pushed it 200 feet,” Foster said. “The driver of the Durango hopped out and fled northbound on South Garden. He went back the way he came.”

Lawson said Lynden Postmaster Brian Mouche was with his employee at the hospital. He said the man is “extremely sore” and likely would be recuperating at home through the weekend.

“His LLV (truck) would’ve been in gear and running because he was putting mail in a rural box,” Lawson said. Both sides of the aluminum-body truck crumpled in the crash, he added.

Foster said the crash remains under investigation and police are pursuing leads. Anyone with information about the incident can call 360-354-2828.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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