Bicyclist killed by suspected drunk driver in Freeland; man released following court appearance

David Hinton

A South Whidbey bicyclist is dead and another man facing charges of vehicular homicide following a collision on East Harbor Road in Freeland Thursday evening.

The Washington State Patrol identified the deceased Friday morning as Randall L. Lorraine, 58, of Langley.

According to a press memo, Lorriane was riding a bike eastbound on the right shoulder of East Harbor Road shortly after 9 p.m. when he was struck from behind by a 1997 grey Lexus E300, also eastbound. He died at the scene.

The driver of the Lexus, 52 year-old David Hinton, is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol. He was taken into custody and booked into the Island County Jail.

Hinton’s driver’s license says he has a Sedro-Woolley address. He was not injured.

Jason Laughren, deputy chief of South Whidbey Fire/EMS, said the accident was reported by one or more bystanders, one of whom may have been a witness. An Island County Sheriff’s deputy was on a call nearby and was the first to arrive. He located Lorraine, found he wasn’t breathing and immediately began attempts to save his life.

“He was the first on scene and he initiated CPR,” Laughren said. “And he probably arrived within a minute of it happening because he was on another call right around the corner.”

Laughren estimated that the deputy and later medical personnel from the fire district and WhidbeyHealth Medical Center spent about 25 minutes trying to revive Lorraine before ceasing their efforts.

The accident occurred on the 5111 block of East Harbor Road, a straight and flat section of the roadway. Laughren said it was dark at the time of the accident, however, making visibility poor. He said the speed limit in the area is 35 mph, but jumps to 50 mph north of the accident scene. He couldn’t say whether speed was also a factor.

“The road was freshly paved so we couldn’t see any skid marks or anything,” he said.

Lorraine was wearing a helmet and, according to Island County Coroner Robert Bishop, he had both a red strobe light on the back of his bicycle and a handle-bar mounted headlight on the front. The headlight was destroyed in the accident, said Bishop, while the strobe was intact and still blinking when he arrived.

Lorraine was alone at the time, reportedly riding home from work.

Washington State Patrol Sgt. Mark Francis, a spokesman for the agency’s Oak Harbor office, said early Friday morning that he couldn’t provide any more details about the accident. He did say, however, that Hinton was arrested at the scene and later had his blood drawn following the securement of a search warrant from a judge.

“He was booked after that,” Francis said.

He added that it will a few weeks at least before the blood results come back.

Hinton made a preliminary appearance in Island County Superior Court Friday afternoon. A Deputy Prosecutor Michael Safstrom with the Island County Prosecutor’s Office requested bail be set at $14,000 and the approval of several standard restrictions, such as prohibiting Hinton from leaving the state. Safstrom noted a past DUI and a driving without a license charge, both of which were more than 25 years old.

Hinton is employed by Henderson Construction, which is working on the hospital expansion, and his boss was in the audience as a show of support. Defense attorney Steve McKay argued that his presence and the age of the charges were evidence that Hinton did not present a flight risk.

Superior Court Judge Vickie Churchill agreed and released Hinton on his own personal recognizance.