Whatcom County man dies in head-on crash on Mount Baker Highway

A Deming man died Monday evening after the vehicle he was driving hit another head-on while on the Mount Baker Highway, according to a Washington State Patrol press release.

Around 5:46 p.m. on Sept. 2, Russell D. Hilton, 47, was driving west on State Route 542 at Deming Road. Hilton’s black Chevrolet pickup truck crossed the center line and hit a white Dodge Ram pickup towing a trailer driven by 37-year-old Juan Escamillabonola head-on, according to State Patrol.

Hilton died from his injuries. It is unknown whether he was wearing a seatbelt, according to the release.

Escamillabonola, of Mount Vernon, was wearing a seatbelt and was uninjured. Two passengers who were with Escamillabonola, Rolando Ayon Ayon, 32, of Burlington, and Jose L. Godinez, 33, of Spring, Texas, were also uninjured, the release states.

It is unknown if drugs or alcohol were involved in the crash, the release states. No charges are expected, according to State Patrol.

Reporter Denver Pratt joined The Bellingham Herald in 2017 and covers courts and criminal and social justice. She has worked in Montana, Florida and Virginia.