Driver gets 17 months in prison for Bellingham road rage

The Bellingham Herald

An Acme man must serve 17 months in prison for trying to run over two men in the parking lot of Sunset Square in Bellingham, a Whatcom County judge has ruled.

Caelin Lane Haskew, 20, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault in the second degree and one count of hit and run with injury for his apparent road rage on the afternoon of Nov. 22.

A driver, 20, in a low-rider car hit his brakes as he went over a speed bump in front of Safeway, 1275 E. Sunset Drive, according to police.

He thought he’d been rear-ended by the car behind him, a white ’95 Oldsmobile Ciera, so he and a passenger, age 20, got out to confront the other driver, Haskew.

The Oldsmobile, however, passed them by, did a loop in the parking lot, and “drove intentionally towards” the other driver but missed, according to charging papers. Police spoke to three other witnesses who believed Haskew tried to hit the man.

Then the Oldsmobile driver circled the parking lot a few more times before he came back toward the two men, striking the driver’s friend and upending him into the windshield. That man suffered serious injuries to his arm, knee and leg.

The driver fled the scene.

That afternoon Bellingham police tracked down Haskew at his home off Valley Highway. The car was there, too, with streaks of blood on the front bumper and obvious damage to the windshield.

Haskew acknowledged he’d been in an altercation at Safeway, but he said the other man had punched his car. He denied striking anyone with the Oldsmobile.

He was charged with two counts of assault in the first degree, and hit and run. Haskew pleaded guilty to the reduced charges last week.

He faced a range of 13 to 17 months in prison, according to sentencing guidelines set out in state law. Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis sentenced him to the top end of that range, as suggested in the plea deal.

Haskew had been convicted of reckless driving twice in the past year. He was caught going 80 mph in a 35 mph zone in November 2014, and the following month he caused a head-on crash that sent a woman, 23, to the hospital, according to court records.

He had been given a one-year jail sentence for the November case, with all but one month suspended. He was put on District Court probation for a year for the December crash.

A court hearing has been scheduled for March to decide what repercussions these latest convictions will have on his other cases.

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb