Interim Lynden Police Chief Michael Knapp, 79, was critically injured Tuesday, Nov. 5, after being struck by a vehicle at Grover and Fourth streets in Lynden, according to a press release from Mike Martin, Lynden city administrator, and the Bellingham Police Department.
Washington State Patrol Trooper Heather Axtman told The Bellingham Herald that the driver of the 1988 Chevrolet pickup that hit Knapp was driven by a 19-year-old who stayed at the scene and cooperated with law enforcement. Nothing criminal is suspected at this time, Axtman said Tuesday night.
A Washington State Patrol press release identified the driver as Brant J. Hilverda of Lynden.
Hilverda was driving northbound, approaching the 200 block of Fourth Street, with his headlights off, according to the state patrol. Knapp was walking across Fourth Street when he was struck and did not see the truck, the release said.
According to RCW 46.37.020, vehicles must have lighted lamps “at any time from a half-hour after sunset to a half-hour before sunrise.” The incident occurred at 5:25 p.m. Sunset in Bellingham Tuesday was 4:43 p.m., according to timeanddate.com.
Knapp was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center where he is being treated for his injuries, according to the release.
The accident is being investigated by the Washington State Patrol.
Knapp was Ferndale’s chief of police from 2005 until he retired at the end of 2016, according to Bellingham Herald archives. He was appointed interim chief in Lynden in May in anticipation of Police Chief John Billester’s June retirement, according to a story in the Lynden Tribune.