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Second Whatcom fatality in two days — motorcyclist dies in crash on South Pass Road

Motorcycle safety tips by Washington State Patrol

Watch this video by the Washington State Patrol to learn more about selecting the proper motorcycle and tips on staying safe while enjoying the ride.
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Watch this video by the Washington State Patrol to learn more about selecting the proper motorcycle and tips on staying safe while enjoying the ride.

A 32-year-old male motorcycle rider from Bellingham was killed in a single-vehicle crash Wednesday afternoon, July 24, on South Pass Road near Peaceful Valley. It was the second fatal incident on Whatcom County roadways in two days.

According to the Washington State Patrol report on Wednesday’s crash, Chase M. Westergreen died after the red 2018 Ducati HYM939 motorcycle he was riding eastbound in the 5600 block of South Pass Road left the road to the right and struck a bank of dirt at approximately 2:12 p.m. Westergreeen was reportedly thrown off the motorcycle, and he and the vehicle landed in a ditch.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation, according to the release, which said it was unknown if drugs or alcohol were involved. Westergreen was wearing a helmet.

The fatality occured less than 24 hours after a 32-year-old Bellingham female pedestrian who was in traffic was struck and killed on Guide Meridian near Smith Road.

Those two incidents bring the number of deaths on Whatcom County roads in 2019 to eight, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation crash portal, though that number did not include a bicyclist who was hit and killed by an Amtrak passenger train while crossing the tracks at F Street in Bellingham in March.

It is also the third motorcycle fatality the county has seen in a little more than three months, as two riders were killed in crashes on Mosquito Lake Road within a week of each other in May.

The three fatal crashes equals the number WSDOT reported involving motorcyclists from all of 2018. Between 2009 and 2018, Whatcom County averaged two fatal crashes with a motorcyclist involved, with a high of four in 2017 and none in 2016, according to WSDOT data.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.
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