Whatcom County Fire District 7 aid crews, Washington State Patrol troopers, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Ferndale Police officers responded to the report of a crash in the southbound lanes of I-5 south of Grandview Road just north of the Portal Way overpass about 12:45am this morning, May 6th.
Initial reports by law enforcement radio dispatchers suspected a vehicle going the wrong way on I-5 was involved in the crash. First responders arrived to find 2 vehicles a few hundred feet apart off the roadway in the ditch on the west side of the southbound lanes.
Whatcom County Fire District 7 Fire Chief Larry Hoffman said the driver of a white Chevrolet Suburban was transported to PeaceHealth St Joseph Medical Center by ambulance with non-life threatening injuries.
The occupants of the other vehicle, a white Volvo station wagon, were nowhere to be found. Law enforcement at the scene and in the area reported searching for them and notified hospital officials in case they showed up there with injuries from the crash.
Washington State Patrol Trooper Heather Axtman said they had received a report of a wrong-way driver heading northbound in the southbound lanes in the same area just prior to the reports of a crash.
Axtman said they subsequently booked the driver of the 2001 Chevrolet Suburban, Brian Keith Pittman, age 34, in Whatcom County Jail for suspicion of driving under the influence. Axtman said Pittman is suspected of being the wrong-way driver.
Axtman said the crash could have been far worse for all involved since the collision was not a straight head-on but instead a left-front to left-front collision.
As of May 6th at 11am, there was no official word regarding the status of the occupants of the 2004 Volvo except that they are thought to have fled the scene. This story will be updated when that information becomes available.