Crime

Van crashes in Bellingham park, wipes out part of playground

Bellingham Public Works employee Jeremy Mast ties down a load of damaged playground equipment at Franklin Park in Bellingham Monday morning, June 20, 2016, after a van drove through the park early Sunday.
Bellingham Public Works employee Jeremy Mast ties down a load of damaged playground equipment at Franklin Park in Bellingham Monday morning, June 20, 2016, after a van drove through the park early Sunday. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

An early morning crash took out a basketball hoop, picnic bench and playground equipment this weekend at Franklin Park in the York neighborhood.

The driver, 25, reported he blacked out at a stop sign near the south end of the park around 3 a.m. Sunday, June 19, according to Bellingham police.

Once he woke up, his 2002 Ford E-350 van had plowed through a fence and into the park, said Lt. Mike Johnston.

A trail of fluid traced the 15-passenger van’s path on Monday, from where the basketball hoop had been flattened, the backboard shattered, a bench torn off a bolted-down picnic table and a playground carousel ripped apart.

The man told police he’d had a seizure and reported he’d had similar incidents before, Johnston said. A police report didn’t note whether the man needed emergency medical aid. So far, no charges have been filed.

Park workers cordoned the scene Sunday and continued to clean up the debris Monday.

Damage to the park is estimated at $10,000 to $15,000, said Marvin Harris, parks operations manager for the city of Bellingham. That’s an early estimate, he noted, and it could cost more.

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb

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