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Updated: Former Ferndale Police lieutenant pleads guilty to reckless driving and sentenced

Scene of an officer-involved crash on Main Street (April 11, 2019). Photo: Whatcom News

FERNDALE, Wash. — Former Ferndale Police Department (FPD) Lieutenant William “Bill” Hatchett, age 47, pled guilty in Whatcom County District Court to a gross misdemeanor charge of reckless driving according to court documents and was booked into Whatcom County Jail on December 6th to report for in-custody work crew.

Reckless driving is punishable by imprisonment for up to 364 days, a fine of up to $5,000 and suspension of driving privileges for no less than 30 days. According to court documents, Hatchett was sentenced to 180 days in custody (364 with 184 days suspended).

The charge originated from an incident in April of 2019 when Hatchett was driving his FPD issued 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe SUV eastbound on Main Street and crashed into the driver’s side of a 2016 Subaru Impreza 4-door hatchback at the intersection of Joe Moser Lane. The driver of the Subaru suffered serious injuries and was transported from the scene via advanced life support protocol (ALS) via a medic unit. She was later airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle due to life-threatening injuries.

The Washington State Patrol’s initial investigation determined Hatchett had, although responding to a call and with his lights activated, failed to yield at a red light which resulted in the crash and injuries. The WSP’s in-depth investigation determined Hatchett was traveling approximately 33-38mph at the point of impact.

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Hatchett had been originally charged with vehicular assault with disregard for safety and resulting in substantial bodily harm, a class B felony, in Whatcom County Superior Court. According to court documents, that case was dismissed with prejudice on December 8th, after he pled guilty in District Court.

Hatchett had been with the FPD for over 21 years when he retired in December of 2020.

This story was updated 12/14/21 with sentencing information.

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