Autopsy: Alcohol not a factor in fatal Bellingham crash

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- A driver who was killed in a head-on crash near Bellingham late last year had not been drinking alcohol as initially suspected, the Whatcom County medical examiner said Thursday.

Washington State Patrol investigators say Travis Lee Holst, 23, and 20-year-old Brox Browning were both killed on Dec. 30 when Holst's car veered across the center line of Highway 539 near Smith Road and slammed into Browning's car.

In their initial police report, troopers at the scene said they could smell alcohol on Holst's breath and wrote that they believed alcohol could be a factor in the crash.

However, toxicology reports showed that Holst's blood tested negative for alcohol nor any other drugs, wrote Whatcom County Medical Examiner Gary Goldfogel. Browning's tests also showed him to be sober but he tested positive for morphine, which he had a medical prescription, and had marijuana levels above the legal limit for driving, Goldfogel said.

The State Patrol is still investigating the crash.