Crime

Ferndale teen killed in pickup crash

A recent graduate of Ferndale High School died in a crash Thursday afternoon, July 30, on West Laurel Road.

Michael John Waltari, 19, crashed his red ’89 Toyota pickup truck around 4 p.m. while westbound on West Laurel Road, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The truck went off the road to the right on a straightaway, hit a power pole, and rolled onto its roof in a drainage ditch. The cab crushed inward, said Washington State Patrol Trooper Eric Goold.

Waltari, who graduated from Ferndale High in 2014, was alert and conscious but trapped when the first 911 caller reached him, Goold said. He died at the scene minutes later, however. At first troopers said he had not been wearing a seat belt. The next day they confirmed he had been wearing one, but firefighters had cut it off to free him.

Troopers have not found any witnesses of the crash.

Damage to the truck suggested Waltari had been going about the speed limit of 45 mph, Goold said. No obvious signs of drugs or alcohol use were in the cab, he added.

The cause of the crash remained under investigation Thursday.

The crash occurred in a straightaway. Waltari had a seat belt on, though firefighters cut it off him to free him. Those details were corrected July 31, 2015.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or caleb.hutton@bellinghamherald.com. Read the Dispatcher blog at bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher-blog and follow him on Twitter at @bhamcaleb.

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