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Suspected drunk driver kills person biking in Kirkland – UPDATED

132nd Ave NE & NE 124th St, via Google Street View

A 35 year-old man from Bellevue was struck and killed just before 3 a.m. Thursday, and the person driving the SUV has been booked on suspicion of drunk driving.

The collision occurred at 132nd Avenue NE and NE 124th St in Kirkland. The collision totaled the bicycle and killed the man at the scene, King 5 reports.

The person driving continued for about a block before turning around and returning to the scene, according to KOMO.

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Police suspect alcohol was involved and arrested the driver. They were also questioning the SUV passenger.

Kirkland police said the person biking was “doing everything right,” according to King 5:

“The bicylist was doing everything right and was well marked with lights and everything,” said Lt. Mike Murray, Kirkland police. “This seems to be an unfortunate accident.”

Condolences to his friends and family.

This 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.

UPDATE: The Seattle Times reports that the driver, believed to be in his 20s, was found to be impaired and going too fast, according to police:

Murray said the driver of a Ford Excursion struck the cyclist as he was turning left from Northeast 124th Street onto Slater Avenue Northeast.

Murray said the SUV driver’s blood was tested, and an examination indicated he was intoxicated. Police also believe speed was a factor in the crash.

“He was impaired. He was definitely under the influence of some sort,” Murray said.

The Times also reports that the victim’s family went to the scene of the wreck this morning after seeing reports of the collision on TV.

Meanwhile, Cascade Bicycle Club says they are watching the Kirkland Police’s handling of the incident following their questionable actions (or lack thereof) following Przychodzen’s death.

Kirkland Police comments calling the incident “an unfortunate accident” have already raised concerns from Seattle Bike Blog readers readers and Adam Parast at Seattle Transit Blog:

The only thing I have to say besides my condolences to the family and friends of the victim is actually a request. Don’t use the word “accident” when you really mean “collision”. Accident implies lack of fault, randomness and inability to control, when all collisions are in fact someones fault. To call something a “unfortunate accident” as the police officer quoited in the story did, takes the underlying message to a whole new level, ie “there was nothing that could have been done to prevent this collision and we should just get used to cyclist getting killed on our roadways.”

As a society, we need to be crystal clear about what are preventable road fatalities and injuries. To call collisions an accident validates and reaffirms a culture of irresponsibility and unaccountability, and that is the last thing our roads need.

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16 responses to “Suspected drunk driver kills person biking in Kirkland – UPDATED”

  1. Todd

    This is in my neck of the woods. What happened here was a tragedy. My thoughts go out to his family. But if there is one thing I can take away from this is it provides reinforcement of why I don’t ride my bike in the early morning hours. I can scream and holler all we want about the rights off cyclists and die or I can just not go during these hours and call it good. I have no interest in being a martyr.

  2. Julian

    “This seems to be an unfortunate accident”???!#!#!%$^*$*^#? Lt. Murray seems to be f’ing oblivious.

    You mean, the alcohol accidentally poured into the driver, and then accidentally wound up behind the wheel, and the passenger accidentally let him drive drunk? That kind of “accident”? Hopeless. S/he’ll plea out like the lake city “I get psychotic sometimes” driver and be driving again in weeks or months.

    1. Andres

      Any type of incident involving a car hitting something else is referred to as a car “accident”. It’s infuriating, but that’s the way people talk. I’m just impressed that the officer didn’t (implicitly) blame the cyclist, and spoke positively about the cyclist’s behavior.

  3. Peter Smith

    word — “unfortunate accident”??

    1. Erik G.

      Makes you wonder what they are teaching at the academy.

  4. Doug Bostrom

    As I mentioned in the news roundup, “fortune” had nothing to do with it, unless we’re going to admit the SUV driver created his own bad luck.

    By the way, that’s a truly third-world intersection, not worthy of a fully functioning civil society. What’s the deal with Kirkland? Could it be too much development, too little taxation?

    1. Steve

      What do mean “third-world intersection”? What’s wrong with it? That intersection has traffic signals and left-turn lanes with signals all directions. And besides, that part of Kirkland was only annexed a few months ago; previously it was King County.

      1. Doug Bostrom

        “… has traffic signals and left-turn lanes with signals all directions.”

        No, absolutely not. It’s missing a bunch of important features.

        Imagine that you’re on foot and want to make a legal crossing at this intersection using zebra stripes. Notice that you are required to make two extra crossings across this multi-lane mess, thereby encountering pointless additional hazards.

        Take a look via satellite if it’s not obvious from the photo above what the problem is:


        What a hideous lake of asphalt, as though a volcano named “progress” and spewing paving had gone out of control. But no money for crosswalks… like in the third world.

  5. […] This morning a cyclist was struck and killed in Kirkland at NE 124th St and 132nd Ave in the Totem Lake area of Kirkland. The driver of the vehicle that stuck him has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. The Seattle Bike Blog has more details. […]

  6. David

    The Keystone — uhh, I mean, Kirkland — cops are way too preoccupied with the easy money practice of catching speeders on the nearly deserted I-405 at that hour of the morning to concern themselves with finding drunk drivers. They clearly don’t give a rat’s rip about public safety.

    1. bigyaz

      The Kirkland police are all over the downtown and other bar areas at closing time. Check the DUI arrest statistics some time.

      But yes, they certainly should have anticipated an bike-car accident in a deserted area of Totem Lake — at 3 a.m.

  7. […] Events ← Suspected drunk driver kills person biking in Kirkland – UPDATED […]

  8. i don’t remember the specific words used by the “cycling mayor” or Kirkland when interviewed last night on tv news, but i remember thinking that it bordered on blaming the cyclist.

  9. FYI: According to the King County Jail register, Nathan J. Godwin – the driver accused of Vehicular Homicide in this case – was released on a $500,000 Bond in just over 24 hours. Nice… I wonder if he came up with the assets on his own or if mommy and/or daddy helped out. FYI: You can look up jail bookings/inmates here: http://ingress.kingcounty.gov/inmatelookup/

    You can also look up court records with the King County district court system here:


    He has quite a load of speeding tickets and HOV violations as well as a conviction for reckless driving. NerdsInSeattle has the rundown on this sleazebag.

  10. This is on my bike route, 9 months of the year I make that left 5 days a week. It isn’t all that bad though it is miserable for pedestrians. For cyclists making the left there is pretty easy most days but you need to merge over very early (basically just after clearing the previous light).

    My co-workers (actually HR) was giving me grief about riding on Thursday due to this. But the HR woman thinks bikes belong on trails only. My heart goes out to the family and other cyclists who ride through here. As one of the connections to the river trail this intersection gets a lot more bike traffic then one would think.

  11. […] to one of the latest Seattle-area car-bike fatalities that was unfortunately labelled an accident. http://seattlebikeblog.com/2011/12/08/suspected-drunk-driver-kills-person-biking-in-kirkland/. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Categories […]

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