Jail release celebration turns into hit-and-run


A Bellingham man, reportedly celebrating his release from jail, was allegedly speeding at a rate of 80-90 mph on Birch Bay Drive when he crashed into an 84-year-old driver October 1.

Jordan Garth Pickett, 24, of Bellingham, was booked into Whatcom County Jail at 3:50 p.m. October 2 on hit-and-run, reckless driving and first-degree driving while license suspended charges. He was also charged with operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock, a breathalyzer that prevents someone from operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. 

Around 6:30 p.m. October 1, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) deputies were dispatched to a collision at the intersection of Birch Bay Drive and Shintaffer Road. Deputies found that a vehicle driven by Pickett was traveling at a high rate of speed and recklessly passing other vehicles along Birch Bay Drive, WCSO spokesperson Kevin Mede told The Northern Light in an email. Pickett’s vehicle hit another vehicle that was attempting to pull out from Shintaffer Road. 

The driver of the other vehicle was an 84-year-old woman who was transported to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham for injuries. St. Joseph Medical Center spokesperson Beverly Mayhew said in an email the woman was discharged the same day.

Witnesses, including the passenger in Pickett’s vehicle, said Pickett was traveling at speeds up to 65 mph faster than the 25 mph zone allows, Mede said. The passenger reported that Pickett was celebrating his release from jail and had been drinking.

Pickett fled the scene on foot before deputies arrived, but he was taken into custody October 2 at his home in Bellingham and booked into Whatcom County Jail.

Pickett was found guilty last October of third-degree assault, unlawful imprisonment and violating a protection order, according to court documents. He was scheduled to have a preliminary appearance October 3 in Whatcom County Superior Court.

Mede said Birch Bay Drive currently does not have any radar speed signs.


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