One dead as driver flees fatal crash near Sumas

A driver fled the scene of a deadly crash Monday, July 6, in rural Whatcom County southwest of Sumas.

Troopers believe a westbound Mitsubishi Eclipse was speeding around 6 p.m. when the driver lost control around a curve near 3011 Clearbrook Road, a four-mile drive southwest of Sumas.

The blue Eclipse crashed into a split-rail fence and continued another 30 to 50 feet down into an embankment, said Washington State Patrol Trooper Mark Francis.

Firefighters arrived to find a man, about 20 years old, in the passenger seat. He’d been impaled in the upper torso by a wooden fence rail, Francis said. He died at the scene. His name hadn’t been released as of Monday evening.

The driver ran from the wreck. He was described as Hispanic, wearing blue jeans and a black short-sleeved T-shirt under a white long-sleeved T-shirt.

Shortly afterward several 911 calls came in about a winded man running north on Van Buren Road.

Containers of beer were strewn “all over” the inside of the car, Francis said.

Sheriff’s deputies, U.S. border agents, a U.S. border helicopter and police dogs responded to search for the driver.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or Read the Dispatcher blog at and follow him on Twitter at @bhamcaleb.