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Suspect in Blaine hit-and-run fatality crash arrested

Blaine Police Department patrol vehicle blocks a lane near the scene of crash on Blaine Road (March 7, 2023). Photo courtesy of Blaine Police Department.

BLAINE, Wash. — A suspect has been arrested in a fatal hit-and-run car crash that occurred on March 7th on Blaine Road (SR548) near Drayton Harbor Road.

Colby Jon Gunderson, age 22 and of Ferndale, was arrested by Washington State Patrol (WSP) on Friday, October 6th, and booked into the Whatcom County Jail charged with suspicion of vehicular homicide.

According to a Washington State Patrol press memo released the day of the crash, a motorcycle and a gray 2007 Mazda 6 were southbound on Blaine Road, south of Drayton Harbor Road, when the motorcycle attempted to pass the Mazda. This caused the Mazda driver to “overcorrect to the right shoulder” and “struck two concrete barriers.” The driver was ejected from the vehicle, and it came to rest on the right shoulder. The motorcyclist reportedly fled the scene.

The driver, a 33-year-old Blaine woman, was determined to not have been wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. Her 13-year-old passenger was wearing a seatbelt. Both were transported to PeaceHealth St Joseph’s Medical Center by North Whatcom Fire & Rescue personnel.

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WSP issued an updated press memo on Friday, April 14th, saying the driver of the Mazda had been declared deceased at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

According to the WSP’s Criminal Investigation Division case summary submitted to the Whatcom County Superior Court, probable cause to arrest Gunderson was developed after assessing forensic evidence at the scene, locating security video from a nearby business that showed the motorcycle, the Mazda and other vehicles as they drove past the camera and talking to witnesses, the passenger of the Mazda and Gunderson.

Days after the crash, a Blaine Police officer shown a still image from the video said the motorcycle might belong to Gunderson. Photos of a motorcycle were located on Gunderson’s social media accounts that appeared similar to the one seen in the video.

Witnesses told WSP investigators that the motorcycle was observed being driven erratically and passing multiple vehicles. A witness to the crash said when the motorcyclist attempted to pass the Mazda, it encountered a vehicle traveling northbound. The motorcycle reportedly moved towards the Mazda and the Mazda then moved towards the right shoulder. The motorcycle and the Mazda were both slowing when the Mazda returned to the roadway, crossed the centerline and left the roadway, striking a ditch and concrete block before coming to rest. The motorcycle continued to slow and then left the scene.

Gunderson told investigators he was the motorcyclist that passed the Mazda but never made contact with it and as such did not believe he was involved in the crash. The motorcycle was located at his Ferndale residence and secured as evidence.

Gunderson has appeared as a defendant in 7 Whatcom District and Blaine and Ferndale Municipal Court cases since 2019 according to court records.

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