Bellingham Police was sent to investigate two severe collisions less than an hour apart on the night of 9-28-21. Both collisions resulted in a fatality. The first collision involved a bicycle rider, 54-year-old male, on Mount Baker Highway near Chance Road who was struck and died at the scene of his injuries. The second collision involved two racing cars, one of which collided into a tree and the passenger, a 28-year-old male, died at the scene of his injuries. This collision resulted in Oscar A. Bengoa-Alas, 24, of Bellingham being arrested for vehicular homicide.
The first collision
At approximately 7:53 p.m., the 54-year-old male, was riding his bike on Mount Baker Highway near Chance Road, heading eastbound. A car was also driving eastbound on Mount Baker Highway, was not able to see the bike rider in the roadway and collided with him. He was wearing all dark clothing in a dark stretch of roadway. The bike rider died of his injuries at the scene. There was no criminality, negligence or recklessness on the part of the driver in this collision.
The second collision
Less than an hour later, at 8:46 p.m., BPD officers were sent to a collision at the intersection of Woburn, Iowa and Yew Streets. They found a car, overturned on its side, after having collided against a tree just past the intersection on Yew Street. Witnesses saw two cars racing east on Iowa, past the intersection at a high rate of speed. One of the cars cleared the intersection onto Yew street, the second lost control and collided with the tree.
As officers got to the scene they found Bengoa-Alas walking around bleeding from the face. His injuries were consistent with hitting the steering wheel with the bridge of his nose and he was identified as the driver of the crashed car. Officers found a passenger in the car, critically wounded, to whose injuries medics were attending. The 24-year-old passenger was pronounced dead at the scene after succumbing to his injuries.
The investigation revealed Bengoa-Alas was exhibiting signs of intoxication and officers developed further probable cause to charge him with vehicular homicide. Bengoa-Alas was driving his car in a reckless manner after having consumed intoxicating liquor, which caused a crash and fatally injured the passenger in his car. Bengoa-Alas was taken to the hospital for treatment of his own injuries. He remained there, under arrest and under guard, until his medical release and booking into the Whatcom County Jail on the evening of 9-29-21.