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Driver suspected in 2 hit and run crashes located in a pickup truck in a ditch

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — An affidavit of probable cause prepared by the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) and submitted by prosecutors in Whatcom County Superior Court explains what led up to the arrest and multiple charges against a Bellingham man.

About 6:50pm on Monday, January 10th, a WCSO deputy was dispatched to a report of a hit and run crash in the 4900 block of Samish Way. While en route, the deputy was advised the suspect vehicle was also thought to have been involved in another hit and run crash about 25 minutes prior within the Bellingham city limits and a witness had located the pickup truck in a ditch about a half a mile from the Samish Way crash site.

Approximate location of crash

Upon arriving where the truck was in the ditch, the deputy contacted the driver, the only person in the vehicle, and observed physical clues he may be impaired. When asked for his driver’s license, the driver attempted to make a phone call but dropped the phone.

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After the deputy asked the driver to leave the vehicle and stand at the rear, he had to physically assist driver in walking “due to his obvious intoxication.”

A witness reported the driver had been attempting to drive out of the ditch before the deputy arrived.

Further investigation located a clean and dry 20-gauge shotgun on top of blackberry bushes about 5 feet from the 2012 GMC Sierra pickup truck’s driver’s door. Shotgun shells were found inside the truck.

Investigation of the nearby hit and run crash found a 2020 Ford EcoSport subcompact SUV with “substantial damage” and the driver with chest and neck pain. It was determined to have been a head-on crash that occurred when the northbound GMC crossed the center line, struck the southbound Ford and continued northbound until ending up in the ditch.

The driver, identified as Phillip Bruce Lorden, age 56, was taken into custody. He admitted to the deputy of being intoxicated and said he needed to be “locked up” to keep people safe.

Lorden was said to have provided 2 breathalyzer results above 0.218, almost 3 times the state legal limit of 0.08 for operating a vehicle.

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It was determined Lorden had prior felony convictions and was therefore unable to legally possess a firearm.

Lorden was arrested and booked into Whatcom County Jail, charged with suspicion of the following crimes.

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  • 2nd degree driving while license suspended
  • Hit and run of an attended vehicle
  • Driving under the influence
  • 2nd degree unlawful possession of a firearm

Lorden had previously been found guilty of 3rd degree assault and felony harassment in 2010 and unlawful possession of a firearm in 2017.

During a preliminary appearance in court on January 11th, prosecutors asked the court to set Lorden’s bond at $25,000. The defense objected and asked for $2,500 or $250 in cash. The court set bond at $7,000 or $700 in cash. Lorden posted $700 in cash and was released from custody later that day. He is scheduled to return to court for an arraignment hearing on January 28th.

4 Comments

  1. Nancy Warwick January 14, 2022

    Seriously, why was he released? He asked to be locked up to protect people. Why was his bail set so low. Our criminal system is a joke!!!’

  2. Jake Bailey January 14, 2022

    Everybody that commits crimes are being released. Every story I’ve read from whatcom news with people committing crimes while waiting on trials of previous crimes are released. Criminals have more rights now then all of us. Thank you Jay Inslee. You are making our communities safe.

  3. Godsaveamerica January 14, 2022

    He’ll just skip bail and go it again. What’s the deal with our prosecutors and judges? Too wimpy and enabling of criminals.

  4. Robin J January 14, 2022

    I understand why alleged criminals can’t be held in jail right now, but it sounds like this guy should have already been in prison.

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