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Suspect arrested in Bellingham vehicular homicide incident

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Lummi Police booked a woman into Whatcom County Jail today, May 18th, charged with suspicion of vehicular homicide stemming from a fatal incident on the morning of May 6th in the Bellingham Irongate neighborhood.

According to an affidavit of probable cause prepared by Bellingham Police and filed in Whatcom County Superior Court, Rayven T D Butler-Washington, age 25, is suspected of arguing with the victim in a gravel parking lot where RV motor homes were parked just prior to running the victim over in the roadway.

Witness reports said the vehicle, a Ford Explorer, did not slow or brake and fled the area after running over the victim. The victim, a 38-year-old Deming man, was declared dead at the scene.

Police searched several bags left on the ground near the RV motor homes and found items with “Rayven” written on them.

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Around 3:15pm, about 6 hours after the incident, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office deputies contacted a woman in the 1300 block of Marine Drive who was identified as Butler-Washington. She was sitting in the driver’s seat of a Ford Explorer that matched witness descriptions. She agreed to be interviewed by Bellingham Police detectives.

She told detectives she had not seen the victim since the day before and had picked up the Ford from a Bellingham hotel with the front end already damaged.

Detectives later spoke with another witness who said Butler-Washington and the victim had spoken with him about 3 hours before the incident.

Surveillance video at the Bellingham hotel was reviewed and the Ford was not seen as Butler-Washington had claimed.

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Surveillance video in the area of the incident shows a woman matching Butler-Washington’s description walking toward the area where the incident occurred. That woman is not seen walking away from the area and detectives believe that is because she drove away in the Ford.

Prior to running over the victim, the Ford had been driven into 1 of the RV motor homes.

Butler-Washington has been charged with the following felony crimes in Whatcom County Superior Court.

  • 1st degree premeditated murder
  • vehicular homicide while operating in a reckless manner
  • hit and run leaving the scene of a collision involving a death

A court-ordered warrant was issued for Butler-Washington’s arrest on May 16th.

According to Bellingham Police Department Spokesperson Lieutenant Claudia Murphy, Butler-Washington was contacted on May 18th about 11am by Lummi Police Department personnel, arrested without incident and booked into the jail.

As of 4:30pm, May 18th, Butler-Washington was reported to be in custody without the opportunity to post bail while awaiting a preliminary court appearance.

One Comment

  1. Leah Zapata May 18, 2022

    Thank God, now there will be closure to my nephews horrible death. So unbelievable that he’s gone, still.

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