Crime

2 semis, 6 cars crash in an hour on freeway in Bellingham

A one-semi, four-car pileup on Interstate 5 in Bellingham backed up traffic Monday morning, Sept. 21.
A one-semi, four-car pileup on Interstate 5 in Bellingham backed up traffic Monday morning, Sept. 21. Courtesy to the Bellingham Herald

Two semis and six cars were involved in two crashes that clogged traffic Monday morning, Sept. 21, on southbound Interstate 5 in Bellingham.

One semi driver, Piara Bhullar, 70, of Surrey, B.C., crashed near the Iowa Street exit around 10:20 a.m. when his truck clipped a guardrail on the right shoulder of an overpass above Bellingham city streets, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The southbound semi — hauling a flatbed, empty — crossed both lanes, hit a guardrail on the left side of the freeway, and started to go back to the right “like a pinball,” said Trooper Mark Francis. While the truck was out of control, it struck a Scion with two women inside: a mother from Coquitlam, B.C., and her adult daughter from Kirkland, Francis said. The women suffered minor injuries.

Bhullar was ticketed for negligent driving in the second degree.

Southbound traffic was backed up 50 minutes later, at 11:11 a.m., when the driver of a Chevy pickup switched lanes from the left into the right, and hit the side of a semi truck with an empty, enclosed trailer near the Sunset Drive exit. The semi then crashed into the left lane, where its side collided with four cars that were slowing down for the traffic jam: an Acura in front, followed by a Ford Ranger, a Ford Escort and a Mini Cooper. A woman in the Mini Cooper suffered a broken right arm, Francis said.

Freeway traffic was detoured while the jackknifed semi blocked both lanes of southbound I-5 for more than an hour.

The driver of the Chevy pickup, Derek Sensak, 20, of Bellingham, was cited for making an unsafe lane change, Francis said.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or caleb.hutton@bellinghamherald.com. Follow him on Twitter at @bhamcaleb.

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