Bradley Nakatani, 36, was biking to his Kirkland home after work when he was struck and killed by an impaired driver in a speeding Ford Excursion. The software engineer was dead by the time medics arrived.
Coworkers, friends and family are mourning his death, and some are planning a vigil at 4 p.m. Friday afternoon at the site of the collision.
The person driving the SUV — 27-year-old Nathan J Godwin — has been arrested, and police say they believe he was too impaired to be driving due to drinking and taking prescription drugs. He has a history of traffic violations and has a felony drug conviction. He was driving twice the speed limit, and police are hoping to build a case for vehicular homicide charges, according to King 5.
The collision occurred as Nakatani was turning left from Northeast 124th Street onto Slater Avenue Northeast. The collision was so powerful Nakatani’s bike split in half. According to the medical examiner, he had fatal injuries to his head, chest and several internal organs.
Nakatani rode his bike to and from work almost every day, according to his friend Praveen Arneja. He had the legally required lights and helmet as well as extra reflective clothing.
“He was young and aspiring and motivated to do a lot of things — and he was good at heart,” Arneja told King 5. “It’s a very painful loss.”
Condolences to his friends and family.
UPDATE: The Seattle Times has more about Nakatani, who Cascade Bicycle Club says was a 100 percent rider during the Group Health Commute Challenge. He worked at Alstom in Redmond, and was a 1994 graduate of Newport High School in Bellevue. He then went to the California Institute of Technology and got his master’s degree from Stanford.
His brother-in-law told the Times, “I couldn’t ask for a better uncle for my two boys. He is probably the smartest person I know.”
Mike Boden, Nakatani’s brother-in-law, said today that Nakatani was riding home at that hour from his job at Alstom, a technology company in Redmond. Nakatani found that he did his best work at “odd hours,” after other employees went home.
Nakatani told his family that it was important to ride his bicycle to and from work.
“He’s very into the environment. He never wanted to leave a carbon footprint,” Boden said.
UPDATE #2: Colin from Nerds in Seattle has a roundup of Nathan Godwin’s lengthy traffic ticket history.
Nakatani is the second person this year to die while biking in Kirkland. John Przychodzen was killed in July while biking home from work on Juanita Dr. Kirkland Police gave teenage driver Nick Natale a $42 ticket after he suddenly swerved onto the shoulder and struck Przychodzen from behind, killing him.