A mountain biker in Bellingham was stabbed after a right of way dispute on the Stewart Mountain Trail in Bellingham.
A post on the Whatcom County Sheriff Office Facebook Page
reports that deputies were called to a trailhead car park in the 3500 block of Y Road on the afternoon of March 6 after a report of a stabbing with several parties involved.
A group of hikers had been hiking down the multi-use, bi-directional trail when they encountered a mountain biker going up the trail. It appears that neither party was willing to yield and an argument broke out over who had right of way. The Sheriff's report contains two separate versions of what happened next, one from the 69-year-old hiker named Dake Traphagen and the other from the unnamed 66-year-old mountain biker.
Traphagen was interviewed at the trailhead and claims that the mountain biker attacked him with his bike after the disagreement and they fell to the ground. Traphagen then claims that during the altercation he had pulled out a pocket knife and stabbed the mountain biker in self-defense to get him off.
The mountain biker was interviewed a few days later however and he stated that he had been riding uphill when he encountered the group of hikers and requested that they move aside. He indicated that he was trying to negotiate a technical section that had exposed tree roots and was clipped into his bike. A male in the group grabbed his handlebars, causing him to lose balance. He and the bike tumbled onto the hiker and became tangled up as the victim was still clipped into the bike. The hiker began hitting him and everyone was yelling for him to get off of the man. He then noticed that it wasn’t hitting, but that the hiker had a knife and was stabbing him in the arm and the leg.
The mountain biker left the scene after the altercation and 911 was called by the hikers. The mountain biker called an ambulance later that day with stab wounds and loss of blood. He was first transported to the local hospital then airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle due to the severity of his injuries. The final extent of his injuries are not currently known.
After two weeks of investigation by the local Police, Mr Traphagen turned himself in to the Sheriff’s Office yesterday and was booked in the Whatcom County Jail for first-degree assault and possession of a dangerous weapon (the knife he used in the incident was a spring blade knife which is not legal to possess in this state).
We wish a quick recovery to the mountain biker involved in this horrific incident. We will update this story as more news comes in.