Several local hit-and-run cases remain unsolved

EVERETT — On average, a pedestrian is killed by a car or truck every two hours in the United States.

In a fifth of those cases, the driver keeps going.

Some are caught; others not.

The latter cases haunt families and frustrate detectives.

Between 2008 and 2012 in Washington state, there were 22 hit-and-run fatalities without a suspect, according to a state Traffic Safety Commission report.

In Snohomish County, several hit-and-run fatality cases remain unsolved.

In Everett, collision investigation detectives continue to look for answers after an early morning crash killed James Martin Mahood, 53, near Union Slough on Highway 529 on Feb. 22.

Detectives believe he was hit by a dark gray, early 2000s model Chrysler or Dodge. The vehicle’s right front headlight assembly was damaged.

Police are hoping someone — either the driver or an acquaintance — will come forward with information.

“I would think that somebody somewhere knows something,” Everett police officer Aaron Snell said.

The crash occurred around 3:30 a.m. along the southbound lanes of Highway 529. Mahood died at the scene.

Less than a month before, Diana Martinka, 53, was hit in the 200 block of 128th Street SW. She died at a Seattle hospital.

The crash was reported around 7:40 p.m. Jan. 26.

The vehicle that struck the Ferndale woman would have had front-end damage. Witnesses reported the driver got out of the car to retrieve the mirror that was broken off, said Sgt. Andy Kahler, of the sheriff’s office Collision Investigation Unit. Scant other physical evidence was left at the scene.

Martinka was not in the crosswalk when she was hit. Witnesses said the driver was a man.

The make and model of the vehicle are unknown. It is believed to be a white car.

“The case was closed due to lack of suspect leads,” sheriff’s office spokeswoman Shari Ireton said. “With any new information, the case will be reopened.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 425-388-3845.

In all hit-and-run cases, the goal is the same, Kahler said.

“We need closure for the family and to hold whoever is responsible accountable,” he said.

More than two years later, a hit-and-run investigation has stalled in Monroe.

In that case, Debbrah Marie Pesce, 53, was struck and killed in December 2012 while riding a bike near the intersection of Old Owen Road and U.S. 2. The driver was in what appeared to be a 1990s-era Ford F-series pickup. It was white with a horizontal green or blue stripe on the side.

Witnesses told police that a pickup had been stopped behind another vehicle along U.S. 2. and the truck apparently went around the stopped vehicle and hit Pesce before fleeing east toward Sultan. Investigators believe two other drivers also struck Pesce as they headed through the intersection. Those drivers stopped and remained at the scene.

“We have had no activity on the Pesce case since February of 2014,” said Debbie Willis, a Monroe Police Department spokeswoman. “Many hours were spent following leads on the suspect pickup that was believed to be involved in this collision and the officers were not able to find the vehicle.”

Another high-profile hit-and-run occurred in 2009. It remains unsolved.

Heather Nicole Trickler, 15, had been walking along the U.S. 2 trestle late on a Saturday night when she was struck. Witnesses said they saw someone stop their vehicle near the Homeacres Road exit in the eastbound lanes around 10 p.m., get out to look around, then drive off.

Trickler’s body was found two days later.

Washington State Patrol investigators believe the vehicle that hit the girl could be a bluish-green General Motors model made between 1994 and 1999. They said the car likely had significant damage to the passenger side, possibly including a missing headlamp, antenna and side mirror.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446;

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