One man is dead and a 7-year-old boy injured after the man drove off the Blaine pier at a high rate of speed. At approximately 7:15 p.m. Sunday night, witnesses say a driver sped down Marine Drive, broke through road barricades and hit the boy before crashing through the wood and metal fence on the Blaine pier.
The man has been identified as 54-year-old Whatcom County resident Allan James May. It is believed that May deliberately drove his 1993 Toyota pickup off the pier, speeding up as he approached the railing.
The child, who had biked to the pier with his father and brother, was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he remains in intensive care with two broken legs and a crushed foot after being struck by the vehicle.
Divers found the truck at the bottom of Drayton Harbor on April 28 about 100 feet northwest of the pier. May’s body was found washed ashore in B.C., according to the Blaine Police Department.
The pier has been closed to vehicular traffic since early March due to damage incurred while the Port of Bellingham was upgrading it.
Witnesses said the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed when it crashed through the city’s barricades and barreled across the pier and through the railing that surrounds the pier.
“Those who were onsite said they estimated it was going 80 to 90 miles per hour,” Haslip said. It did not appear that the car made any attempt to stop before colliding with the pier railing, said Blaine police officer Jon Landis, as there were no skid marks indicating a change of heart before the driver plunged into the bay.
Whatcom County sheriff’s deputies, Blaine police and the U.S. Coast Guard were onsite, with Coast Guard helicopters circling the area to monitor the situation immediately after the incident. Search and rescue divers arrived at around 9 p.m. Sunday night, and began the arduous task of locating the vehicle, as a lower tide made visibility close to nil.
“You can only see about this far in front of your face,” said dive team member Chris Hemingson, holding his hand a foot from his face. “It’s dark, and it’s murky, and as the tide drags out, it just makes the conditions worse.” The harbor is close to 60 feet deep in that part of the channel.
Hemingson’s team struggled against strong currents in their search before giving up and resuming the search on Monday morning, when they were able to pinpoint the location of the vehicle.
Hemingson was part of the dive crew when a similar incident occurred in 2006. “It took us about 10 minutes to find it that time,” he said. “There was a pretty clear trail of debris to follow.”
A commercial dive crew worked on Monday and Tuesday to recover the car from the bay.
May had threatened to commit suicide before, according to documents filed in Whatcom County Superior Court.
In December 2013, he pleaded guilty to felony harassment with domestic violence and fourth-degree domestic violence assault after he attacked his girlfriend and threatened her. After she left him, May threatened to kill himself if she didn’t come back, according to court documents. His girlfriend notified police at that time that he had a history of suicide attempts, including an incident in June 2012 when she had to revive him using CPR.
He was booked into Whatcom County Jail in January 2014 in connection with those charges and was released February 23.
The pier will be closed indefinitely to both pedestrian and vehicular traffic while the Blaine Police Department conducts their investigation and repairs are made to the railing.
The pier is owned by the Port of Bellingham, and Haslip said the port will have to make the determination as to when it is repaired.