Crime

Driver in fatal Blaine hit and run has history of driving offenses

A pickup driver accused of a fatal hit and run in Blaine is a “habitual traffic offender,” a deputy prosecutor said in court Friday afternoon, Jan. 23.

Andrey Sergeyvich Kirichkov, 26, of Blaine, hid his green 1993 Ford Ranger for about 2 ½ hours after the pickup struck and killed a bicyclist, Douglas Oliver Benton, a half-mile south of the U.S.-Canadian border, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Benton, 53, of Blaine, had been riding a green Murray one-speed cruiser eastward across the trucking road State Route 543 at H Street around 5:30 p.m. Thursday. He wore dark clothes and nothing reflective, said Washington State Patrol Trooper Mark Francis. The intersection has streetlights.

One witness, stopped in a left turn lane, told troopers Benton rode through the intersection diagonally from the southwest to the northeast. Benton, who did not have a helmet on, crossed against a red light, Francis said. A small pickup truck with the right of way to go north ran into him in the intersection.

Benton died at the scene from blunt chest trauma.

The truck kept going north. It was last seen turning left onto D Street, a quarter-mile from the Pacific Highway truck route crossing.

Almost three hours later, around 8:15 p.m., Kirichkov walked up to a state Department of Transportation worker still at the scene, Francis said. Kirichkov said he needed to turn himself in.

In an interview with a state patrol detective, Kirichkov admitted he knew he’d hit someone but he drove off because he “needed to take care of his mother” — who recently suffered a stroke — “and he was also worried that he’d be arrested for driving with a revoked license at the time,” Deputy Prosecutor Christopher Quinn said.

Kirichkov, a self-employed contractor who attended Blaine High School, faces charges of hit and run leading to a death and driving with a license suspended in the first degree. He made his first appearance in a jail courtroom Friday before Superior Court Commissioner Martha Gross.

Kirichkov had been convicted of reckless driving in 2005 and again in 2006, and a “number of times” he’s been caught driving with a suspended license, Quinn said. Also, he was found guilty of driving with a license suspended in the first degree in 2010. Since then he’s been considered a habitual traffic offender by the Department of Licensing.

Kirichkov has no violent history in Washington state.

Gross set bail at $30,000, near the midpoint of what had been suggested by Quinn and Kirichkov’s public defender, Angela Anderson.

Quinn asked Gross to order that, if Kirichkov posts bond, “first and foremost that he not drive whatsoever.”

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