Suspected drunk driver mows down 4 pedestrians, killing 1

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- A suspected drunk driver in a pickup truck sped out of control and mowed down four pedestrians, killing one of them, before crashing into four vehicles in downtown Bellingham early Monday, police said.

Officers responded to the scene, the intersection of North State Street and East Chestnut Street, at about 1:40 a.m. after receiving a report that
multiple pedestrians had just been hit by a large pickup truck.

When the first officer arrived he joined several pedestrians who were detaining the pickup driver.

Additional officers arrived and learned that four pedestrians had been hit by the suspect's vehicle.

One of them, a 37-year-old man identified by his girlfriend as Dragan Skrobonja, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other three were taken to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, where they are listed in stable condition.

"Fun person. Wonderful. Good heart. Very loving. Beautiful soul," said Beatrice Gomile, Skrobonja's girlfriend. "You wanna laugh and then you wanna cry. You don't know what to feel."

The pickup driver, identified as Dustin F. Brown, 27, was arrested and booked into jail for investigation of vehicular homicide and three counts of vehicular assault. It appears that Brown had recently moved to the Bellingham area from Providence, R.I., police said.

A preliminary investigation found that Brown's truck was initially parked in the 1200 block of North State Street, which is a southbound-only one-way street.

Brown started his truck and accelerated hard as he pulled out into traffic, according to witnesses.

Brown immediately lost control of the truck and sped through a business parking lot at the corner of N. State and E. Chestnut, shearing off the chain barriers as he powered through the lot heading toward E. Chestnut Street, said Lt. Bob Vander Yacht of the Bellingham police.

The first three pedestrians were struck on the N. State Street sidewalk before Brown sped into the business lot. As Brown's truck emerged onto E. Chestnut Street from the business lot he struck and killed a pedestrian, Vander Yacht said.

Brown then slammed into a a gray SUV with several occupants that was headed east on E. Chestnut from N. State Street. The SUV was shoved across the road into a parked vehicle from the force of the impact, Vander Yacht said. The occupants of the SUV were not injured.

Brown's truck careened off of these two vehicles and angled back toward State Street, where he slammed into two more parked vehicles, police said. These two vehicles were parked on the west side of N. State Street in front of the Bellingham Herald building.

After deflecting off the two parked vehicles, Brown's truck smashed into a barrier fence that prevented his vehicle from going over a steep drop into the parking lot just south of the Herald building. At this point Brown's truck was swarmed by citizens that pulled him from the vehicle and held him as officers were arriving.

Brown was taken into custody. The investigation continues.