Suspect in Bellingham hit-and-run accident makes first appearance in court
A Bellingham woman has been released from Harborview Medical Center after she was seriously hurt in a hit and run last week.
Valentina Marie Arnold, 27, suffered broken bones and internal head injuries when a green 1998 Dodge Caravan crashed into a ditch and utility pole late Friday, March 4, off Alderwood Avenue at Marine Drive, according to the Washington State Patrol. She was stabilized at St. Joseph hospital and airlifted to the Seattle medical center.
Meanwhile, the driver ran from the crashed van, said Sgt. Mark Francis of the state patrol.
State troopers, Whatcom County sheriff’s deputies and a police dog tracked down the suspected driver, Wilfred Allen McLean, 24, and booked him into jail around 2 a.m. Saturday. He faces charges of vehicular assault and felony hit and run.
Over the weekend Superior Court Judge Deborra Garrett found probable cause for his arrest. She set bail at $100,000.
By Monday morning Arnold had been discharged from the hospital, said Susan Gregg, a Harborview spokeswoman.
A few hours later at the county courthouse, a deputy prosecutor, Evan Jones, asked a court commissioner to maintain bail. The prosecutor noted that McLean had warrants issued in 11 out of 14 past cases for not showing up to court, and that he had a history of DUIs and driving offenses.
The defendant’s father, William McLean Jr., told the court his son is a Tulalip tribal member, and that he would try to get an attorney through the tribe.
“As far as I know,” the elder McLean started to say, “my son wasn’t even driving a vehicle, so I don’t know why he’s charged with all these charges that are pending against him.”
Superior Court Commissioner Alfred Heydrich cut in and told him that’s what a trial is for.
Wilfred McLean’s mother, Carmen Fox, told the commissioner if bond gets posted, her son would live with her on the Lummi Reservation. She said she would ensure he made it to his court dates.
Heydrich set bail at $50,000.