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Suspect identified, sought in fatal hit-and-run on Samish Way

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Bellingham Police Department (BPD) Spokesperson Lieutenant Claudia Murphy told Whatcom News in an email that probable cause has been established for the arrest of Sam Christopher Kuljis, age 28, of Bellingham, for hit and run resulting in death.

The probable cause for arrest stems from an incident on February 11th, when a man on a riding lawnmower was struck by a vehicle while on Samish Way and subsequently died of the injuries sustained in the collision.

Approximate location of the crash

BPD is looking for Kuljis and hopes he turns himself in to face the consequences of his actions, Murphy said.

According to Murphy, BPD officers arrived at the scene to find Bellingham Fire Department medics performing lifesaving treatment on the victim. He was transported to PeaceHealth St Joseph Medical Center and then taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where he died several days later.

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At the scene, officers saw a John Deere riding lawnmower heavily damaged and witnesses who said the suspect driver, later identified as Kuljis, fled the scene. Witnesses reportedly saw the victim ride his lawnmower down his driveway and across Samish Way to the mailboxes across the street. Upon his return to the house, he waited for a car traveling southbound to pass and then headed back across Samish Way when Kuljis, traveling northbound, collided with him. Kuljis kept driving north without stopping, calling for assistance or rendering aid.

The investigation established Kuljis as the suspect according to Murphy after a car he was driving was recovered from a repair shop with damage consistent with the collision. 

Murphy said Kuljis is encouraged to make arrangements to turn himself in.

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