Authorities are looking for the driver of a vehicle, possibly a semitrailer, that hit a man who jumped from an overpass onto Interstate 5 in Blaine early Wednesday.
Dennis D. Hill, 59, jumped from the Hughes Avenue overpass at 12:23 a.m., where he was struck by a northbound vehicle whose driver fled, according to the Washington State Patrol.
Hill was pronounced dead at the scene. Because the driver failed to stop, the incident is a felony hit and run crash – even if autopsy results show Hill likely died from the fall, the state patrol said.
“It’s an unfortunate event. No one is expecting a person to jump,” said Trooper Heather Axtman. “But the person needs to stop. You cannot flee the scene.”
Axtman said the road was closed for several hours and the incident remains under investigation. Hughes Avenue is about 2 miles south of the U.S.-Canada border.
Bridge height at that location is 16 feet 11 inches, according to the state Department of Transportation.
Dr. Gary Goldfogel, Whatcom County medical examiner, said Hill was likely struck by a semi “at highway speed” after he jumped.
“His identification will require either fingerprint matching or dental matching, both pending,” Goldfogel said, adding Hill had a history of depression.
Because of the condition of Hill’s body, Goldfogel said he cannot know for certain if Hill was alive when he was hit.