BELLINGHAM, Wash. — First responders were dispatched to a report of a fully involved car fire in the intersection of Meridian Street and Kellogg Road about 9:45pm on Friday, January 6th. More details have been released by BPD regarding that incident and the subsequent arrest.
BPD Lieutenant Claudia Murphy told Whatcom News via email that BPD officers responded to the intersection of Meridian Street and Kellogg Road for a vehicle collision with one of the cars on fire.
Officers were provided information on their way there, that a white Dodge Ram [pickup truck] had collided with the rear of a passenger car and fled the scene. Both vehicles were driving south on Meridian in the 4200 block at the time of the collision. The investigation showed the Dodge Ram hitting the passenger car with such force, the passenger car erupted into flames immediately. The speed by which the Ram struck the car, pushed the car for an entire block.
By the time the officers arrived the passenger car was fully engulfed in flames with the driver trapped inside. Multiple officers, including WSP Trooper and WCSO Deputies were there. A BPD officer attempted to use the extinguisher, but the fire was too large. The driver of the passenger car was declared deceased at the scene.
The driver of the Ram made a left turn on to E. Kellogg Rd at a high rate of speed fleeing the scene. Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) Deputies found the Ram in the 700 block of E. Kellogg Rd, conducted a traffic stop and took [the driver] into custody without incident. Investigating BPD officers noted signs of intoxication as they spoke to [the driver], who had a strong odor of intoxicants on his breath as well as watery and bloodshot eyes. Bellingham Police Department Lieutenant Claudia Murphy (January 8, 2023)
The driver was identified as Teofilo Garcia Uribe, age 36. Murphy said Uribe was medically “checked out” and then booked into the Whatcom County Jail.
Uribe is charged with suspicion of the following crimes.
- hit and run involving a death
- driving under the influence
- vehicular homicide while driving under the influence or in a reckless manner
According to jail records, the charges are expected to be brought in Whatcom County Superior Court and Uribe remained in custody Sunday morning without the opportunity to post bail pending a preliminary court appearance.