Crime

Bellingham man dies in motorcycle crash in Skagit County

A Bellingham man died when the motorcycle he was riding hit a car making a U-turn on Chuckanut Drive on Monday night, July 20, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Robert A. Dickison, 24, was riding his Suzuki GSXR60 south near the Oyster Dome trailhead in Skagit County at about 5 p.m. when he hit a 2004 Saturn SUV trying to turn around. Dickison’s motorcycle then collided with another motorcycle also traveling southbound, the state patrol said.

The crash killed Dickison. The second motorcyclist, Cody M. Barrow, 20, of Bellingham, was injured and treated at the scene, the state patrol said. Both men were wearing helmets.

The Saturn driver, Tyler F. Quillin, 23, of Bellingham, and a passenger in the car weren’t hurt. A second passenger had minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

The two motorcycles were speeding down the highway seconds before the crash, according to Shelly Graham, a server at The Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive. The crash took place roughly 30 to 40 yards from the restaurant, she said.

“They were going by so incredibly fast, you can tell because of the sound of the motorcycles going by,” Graham said. “We get them going by fast sometimes, but this one, it was incredibly fast.”

However, the at-fault driver likely will be Quillin for not yielding to the motorcyclists when turning around, said WSP spokeswoman Heather Axtman. The car was parked on the southbound shoulder of Chuckanut Drive and was turning around to drive northbound when the motorcycle hit it, Axtman said.

Charges were still pending Tuesday. All three vehicles were impounded. The crash totaled both Dickison’s motorcycle and the Saturn, the state patrol said.

None of the drivers were believed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Friends of Dickison described him as enthusiastic, positive and motivated. Dickison had recently started an auto-detailing business called Rob Dogs Exclusives.

Dickison grew up in Bellingham, attended Bellingham High School and studied automotive repair at Bellingham Technical College. He liked fixing up cars, going out to the shooting range, and spending time with his pitbull, Bolo.

Yet there was nothing he loved more than riding motorcycles, said one friend, Aaron Rhines.

Rhines sold Dickison his first motorcycle in 2011. They became good friends and would often go riding together, sometimes along Chuckanut Drive.

“He’s going to be missed in the community for sure,” Rhine said.

Recently, the group of motorcyclists tried to avoid riding on Chuckanut Drive, said another friend, Morgan Hougland. There had been too many close calls on the curvy highway. Dickison usually was not reckless on his motorcycle, Hougland said.

The riders who typically went with Dickison were not there when he died. They weren’t sure who Dickison was with Monday night.

One quality that seems to have defined Dickison was his willingness to help friends in need. Longtime friend Michael Jensen said there were countless times when Dickison was there for him.

“He was a great guy, and I lost one of my dearest friends. He was so loyal and caring,” Jensen said. “You never know when you’re going to lose someone, and I guess his biggest thing was he wanted to be happy. And he really achieved that, I think.”

Jensen said Dickison was highly motivated, no matter what he pursued.

“He’s really enthusiastic with the things that he cared about. He just, you know, he went forward with everything,” Jensen said. “He was always positive, always pushing forward.”

Jensen said the last time he spoke to Dickison was a couple days ago.

“We were talking about riding,” Jensen said. “He said, ‘We’ll get on there together soon, we’ll go ride together soon.”

Reach Wilson Criscione at 360-756-2803 or wilson.criscione@bellinghamherald.com.

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