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Blaine man dies in crash after apparent medical emergency on I-5 off-ramp

Here’s what’s causing Whatcom’s traffic fatalities

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission found that impaired driving, speeding and distracted driving all play large roles in fatal crashes on Whatcom County roads.
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The Washington Traffic Safety Commission found that impaired driving, speeding and distracted driving all play large roles in fatal crashes on Whatcom County roads.

A 79-year-old Blaine man was killed Thursday evening in a single-car crash, when the vehicle he was driving left an Interstate 5 off-ramp at Birch Bay Lynden Road and ended up in a ditch following an apparent medical emergency.

The identity of the man has not yet been released, according to the Washington State Patrol release on the incident.

According to the report, the blue 2005 Kia Amanti struck the left-side guardrail along the I-5 northbound off-ramp near milepost 270 at approximately 5:05 p.m. Thursday.

The vehicle then left the roadway to the right, went down an embankment and came to rest in the ditch, the release said.

Trooper Heather Axtman tweeted that medics were the first to arrive and immediately began life-saving efforts, but the driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver was wearing a seat belt, the report noted, and it was not known if drugs or alcohol were involved.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, according to the report, but Axtman tweeted that a medical emergency is initially believed to be the cause.

The fatality is the fourth on Whatcom County roadways in the past 17 days, after there was a deadly crash three straight days from July 26-28.

Thursday’s incident brings the number of deaths on Whatcom County roads in 2019 to nine, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation crash portal, though that number does 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.

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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