Crime

1 killed, 1 injured in Mount Baker Highway crash

Emergency responders survey the scene of a fatal crash on Mount Baker Highway east of Everson Goshen Road on Thursday, Jan. 28.
Emergency responders survey the scene of a fatal crash on Mount Baker Highway east of Everson Goshen Road on Thursday, Jan. 28. eabell@bhamherald.com

A driver trying to pass a semi truck on Mount Baker Highway crashed into an oncoming car, killing the other driver Thursday, Jan. 28, according to Washington State Patrol.

Connor Bloom, 22, of Deming, was driving a black ’98 BMW 318 when he tried to pass a westbound semi hauling a loaded flatbed around 4 p.m. near Mission Road, according to state patrol.

As he pulled into the eastbound lane, he saw an oncoming Saturn SL-1, and both drivers slammed on their brakes, said the driver of the semi, Gurcharan Singh Grewal, 42.

The BMW spun back toward the westbound lane. The car hit the side of the semi, ricocheted off, and crashed head-on into the oncoming Saturn, said WSP Sgt. Shane Rogers.

The Saturn driver, a 44-year-old Maple Falls man, died at the scene, according to state patrol. His name had not been released as of Thursday night.

An ambulance rushed Bloom to the hospital, where troopers sent a drug recognition expert to check for signs of being under the influence, troopers said. The extent of his injuries has not been made public, but he’s expected to survive.

Pieces of both cars littered the road. The BMW came to a rest on its tires, its front end crumpled and one wheel missing. The other car rested on its side, in the dry grass just south of the road.

The semi driver, Grewal, was not hurt. He said he was hauling a load of lumber from Abbotsford, B.C., to Oregon. He had been taking Highway 9, but the route was shut down due to water over the road, and Grewal had to detour to Interstate 5. He said he was going perhaps 35 mph as he climbed the hill near Y Road.

Once he reached the top of the hill, as he started to gain momentum again, the black car tried to pass.

Mount Baker Highway was closed in both directions for hours. The road is a straightaway from Mission to Everson Goshen Road, with a slight downhill for cars going west.

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb

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