SNOHOMISH — His motorcycle made Brandon Elias proud.
The Baja Phoenix 250 that he’d bought earlier in the year barely stood half his size. It didn’t zoom so much as putter, topping out at 65 mph, maybe.
Elias, 31, of Snohomish, spray painted his helmet to look like the American flag, to match his American flag-patterned scarf and bandana and the red, white and blue lights he installed on his bike.
He liked to dress up a little and have fun, his family said Monday.
Around midnight July 5, in what police suspect is a DUI crash, he was killed.
Elias was riding northbound in the 2900 block of Newberg Road, a narrow two-lane street east of Lake Stevens, when a truck reportedly struck him head-on.
A woman who witnessed the crash told Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies that the truck had crossed over a double-yellow line into oncoming traffic to pass her.
Elias died at the scene.
The truck’s driver, a 44-year-old Snohomish man, reportedly told sheriff’s deputies that he had been drinking. He refused sobriety tests, according to court papers. “No, I would fail those right now,” he allegedly said.
The suspect was arrested for investigation of vehicular homicide and DUI. He was released July 8 after posting $100,000 bond.
Elias’ fiance, Jayme Fadden, got the first call.
A deputy told her Elias had been killed in a crash.
“I just kept screaming, ‘You’re lying, you’re lying,’” she recalled.
Fadden had seen Elias not long before, at a friend’s house. Elias had insisted on riding his Baja. He wanted to show off his American flag getup, she said.
When they left, “he was right behind us,” Fadden said.
Speaking Monday at a law firm in Everett, family members said they hope the state becomes more serious about DUI offenses. If no fatality is involved, “It’s just a slap on the wrist,” Fadden said.
Between 2015 and 2017, impaired driving was involved in over half of collision fatalities in Snohomish County, according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.
Just a couple days before his death, Elias posted a picture on Facebook warning against drinking and driving.
Family said he was always on the move, usually with wheels of some fashion underneath him.
His favored form of transportation was a BMX bike. He spent weeks at a time making mountain biking trails in Granite Falls. He often could be found hanging out at skate parks.
He had a soft spot for animals. Once, while working, he broke through drywall to save kittens that had fallen between the walls.
He and Fadden planned to marry next year at the Eagles Club in Granite Falls. His mother, Leah Mctear, said now she won’t get to see their grandchildren.
Family saw him last week for the last time, in a funeral home at a viewing.
“We were all able to say goodbye to him,” Mctear said.