Bicyclist killed, driver arrested in Whatcom Co. hit-and-run crash

MAPLE FALLS, Wash. - A driver suspected of being under the influence of prescription drugs hit two bicyclists, killing one of them, then drove off after initially stopping at the crash scene, the Washington State Patrol reported.

The driver, identified as Debra G. Peterson, 57, of Maple Falls was later arrested and booked into the Whatcom County Jail for investigation of felony hit and run.

State troopers responded to the scene, near Highway 547 and Cimarron Way, at about 8:15 p.m. Saturday after receiving a report of a serious crash.

One of the bicyclists, later identified as Steven E. Waterman, 36, of Maple Falls was pronounced dead at the scene. The second bicyclist, a 51-year-old Maple Falls man, was injured. He was taken to a Bellingham hospital for treatment. Neither of the bicyclists was wearing a helmet.

The crash happened in front Kerie Boggess' house. Her husband - an active-duty soldier on leave from the Army - ran to help.

"He's seen carnage before and he's never seen anything that bad before," Kerie says.

Army veteran Jesse Marshall saw the accident happen as he was driving along Highway 547. He stopped and even used the shirt off his back to help render aid.

"I was able to rely on the training that they drill into your head over and over again - it comes in handy you know," he said.

A preliminary investigation found that Peterson was driving north on Highway 547, also known as Kendall Road, in a 1994 Ford Escort when she collided with the two bicyclists as they were in the roadway, according to the State Patrol. The two-lane road in that area has narrow shoulders and no designated bike lanes, the Bellingham Herald reported.

After stopping to check on the bicyclists, Peterson then drove off, state troopers said. She was later located and arrested. She was not injured.

Both Boggess and Marshall say it was their first instinct to help the two men in need - but now they hope justice is served.

"I hope the lady that took off and left those people for dead in the middle of the road gets brough to justice," says Marshall.

Investigators say Peterson admitted she was using prescription medication. Investigators are looking into whether she was impaired by that medication.