By Steve Guntli
A Blaine resident received a nine-month jail sentence after leading police on a 110-mile-per-hour car chase through Ferndale last month.
Brandon Richard Heggem, 23, went before Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis for sentencing on September 17. Heggem, a former volunteer firefighter with North Whatcom Fire and Rescue, was sentenced for second-degree assault and attempting to elude police. Heggem has no prior felony record, but he was arrested for driving under the influence in 2014. The judge ordered Heggem to nine months in jail, the suggested sentence for a first-time felon.
According to police records, Heggem was driving a Dodge Neon with broken brake lights and a missing license plate on Grandview Road at around 8 p.m. on August 5. A Ferndale police officer attempted to pull him over, but Heggem fled onto southbound I-5. Heggem reached speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour as he barreled down the highway, eventually exiting onto Ferndale’s Main Street. From there, Heggem attempted to drive north towards Portal Way when he crashed his vehicle into a Ferndale police cruiser. The officer was unharmed in the crash.
After the accident, Heggem returned to I-5 from Smith Road and crossed the median, heading south in the northbound lane of I-5 for about 1.5 miles. He spun around and headed north towards the Nooksack River Bridge. The bridge was under construction at the time, and the work crew, led by foreman Corbin Luna, responded quickly. Luna drove his vehicle into Heggem’s path to protect two of his men who were working on the bridge. Heggem crashed into Luna’s vehicle, and then took off on foot. Luna was not hurt in the crash.
A police K9 unit found Heggem nearby shortly after the crash. He was arrested and booked into Whatcom County Jail.
An investigation revealed the Dodge Neon had been reported stolen in Everett on August 3. The charges of possessing a stolen vehicle were dropped in Heggem’s plea bargain, provided he pled guilty to the assault and eluding charges, and repay the $1,224.63 in damage he did to the patrol car.