Crime

Passersby rescue grandma, kids from burning car on Hannegan

Passersby rescued a woman and two grandchildren from a pickup truck that crashed and caught fire Tuesday morning, Oct. 27, north of Bellingham.

A man driving a Ford Mustang had stopped to turn left into a driveway at the crest of a slight hill in the 4900 block of Hannegan Road around 10:42 a.m. when a delivery van rear-ended the Mustang and pushed the car into oncoming traffic, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.

A southbound ’01 GMC pickup — carrying a woman, 61; two grandkids, age 4; and three dogs — hit the Mustang, spun into a ditch and caught fire, said Undersheriff Jeff Parks. Two truckers from LTI, Inc., stopped their semis and used fire extinguishers to beat back the smoke and flames, while at least one other passerby helped to free those in the pickup. At one point that citizen’s coat caught fire, Parks said, but it was quickly put out.

The grandmother driving the GMC suffered serious injuries. She was rushed from the scene in an ambulance. Her two grandkids had minor injuries, Parks said.

Two of the dogs were rescued. One dog died in the fire.

Drivers of the other vehicles weren’t seriously hurt. The man in the Mustang, age 20, was sore and shaken up. The driver of the delivery truck, 33, didn’t need emergency aid.

Names of the people involved hadn’t been released as of 4 p.m. Thursday. Everyone wore seat belts and proper restraints, Parks said.

Sheriff’s deputies continue to investigate the cause of the crash. The delivery truck is owned by Dewaard & Bode, an appliance business with an outlet store about 1 ½ miles south of the crash scene.

Hannegan was shut down between Kline and Van Wyck roads until about noon. There are no center turn lanes in that stretch of the road, and the speed limit is 50 mph.

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

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