Man killed in hit-and-run accident near border crossing


By Steve Guntli

A cyclist was killed in a hit-and-run accident near the Pacific Highway truck crossing on January 22.

Douglas O. Benton, 53, had attempted to cross the intersection at H Street and SR-543 riding diagonally to the northeast. A green 1993 Ford Ranger pickup truck struck him at 5:37 p.m. According to witnesses, the truck had a green light. After the accident, witnesses say the truck continued heading north and then turned west on D Street.

Benton died at the scene. Washington state troopers reported he was not wearing a helmet or reflective clothing.

About three hours after the accident, 26-year-old Andrey Kirichkov, a contractor from Blaine, walked to the scene and turned himself in. He told troopers he had parked his truck at his house. He did not appear to be drunk or under the influence of drugs, according to officials who interviewed him.

Kirichkov later told detectives he knew he’d hit someone, but he had to get home to take care of his mother, who had recently suffered a stroke. He said he was also concerned that state troopers would find out his driver’s license was invalid.

Kirichkov made his first appearance in court on January 23 before superior court commissioner Martha Gross. He is facing charges of hit and run leading to a death and driving with a suspended license in the first degree.

According to court records, Kirichkov has a history of reckless driving. Police cited him in 2005 and 2006 for his driving, and several more times since for driving with a suspended license. His license was revoked at the time of the accident.

Gross set Kirichkov’s bail at $30,000.

In a press release sent on January 27, Washington State Trooper Mark Francis said the criminal investigation division of his department was looking for additional witnesses to the accident. Anyone with information should call Detective Dan Comnick at 360/757-2008.

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