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Bicyclist critically hurt in crash near I-5 exit in Bellingham

Bicyclist hit on I-5 in Bellingham

Washington State Patrol troopers investigate the scene after a woman riding a bike was involved in an accident on I-5 southbound near the Lakeway Drive exit in Bellingham, Friday morning, June 3, 2016.
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Washington State Patrol troopers investigate the scene after a woman riding a bike was involved in an accident on I-5 southbound near the Lakeway Drive exit in Bellingham, Friday morning, June 3, 2016.

A Bellingham cyclist suffered critical injuries when she collided with a dump truck Friday morning, June 3, on Interstate 5.

Amanda Carolynn Mihalovits, 27, had been riding south on the right shoulder near the exit to Lakeway Drive when she swerved across two lanes of traffic, said Sgt. Mark Francis of the state patrol.

The driver of a southbound Kenworth dump truck from Lautenbach Industries, of Mount Vernon, slammed on the brakes but couldn’t avoid clipping her, Francis said.

A witness, Emily Shanahan, 26, of Lynden, said she hit the brakes of her Honda Accord when she saw the bicyclist suddenly zigzag across the freeway in broad 5- to 10-foot swerves.

“I was like: What the hell is she doing?” Shanahan said.

Mihalovits collided with the side of the truck, in the left of the three southbound lanes. The bicyclist ended up in front of Shanahan’s car, in the middle lane. She was breathing, Shanahan said, and her eyes were open.

Mihalovits suffered broken bones and a severe head injury, according to the state patrol. She did not have a helmet on. She was rushed to St. Joseph hospital in critical condition around 9:15 a.m. By the afternoon she’d been taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. As of late afternoon she was in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

Her crumpled bike landed on the fog line, on the right side of the freeway.

The driver of the dump truck, David A. Bigbie, 33, of Hamilton, didn’t need medical aid. No charges are pending.

Over the next two hours traffic backed up to the north end of the city. Southbound lanes reopened just after 11 a.m.

Bicycles are allowed on the shoulder of rural stretches of I-5 in Washington state. That part of the freeway, however, is off-limits to cyclists.

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb

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