Suspect in hit-and-run that injured Western student pleads not guilty
By Aaron Gillis
A trial hearing has been set for April 30 for the suspect in a hit and run that injured a Western student on Jan. 31.
Luis Gomez Gutierrez, 51, appeared in Whatcom County Court on Friday, Feb. 16 at 9 a.m., and pleaded not guilty to his charge of hit and run resulting in injury, a class C felony.
A class C felony can carry a sentence up to five years in prison, fines of up to $10,000 or both, according to Washington state law.
Gutierrez was taken into custody on Feb. 5, but released on Feb. 8 after he posted $5,000 bail.
The state requested bail at $25,000, but the court deemed bail was to be set at $5,000.
On Jan. 31, Gutierrez was driving a green 1995 Ford Escort heading southbound on Interstate 5 when he was suspected of striking 23-year-old Western student Lucas K. Brazier.
Gutierrez then supposedly fled the scene without stopping or calling 911, according to information found in his case file. Brazier was later found in the bushes off of the freeway when a police officer spotted him, according to Washington State Patrol.
A Harborview Medical Center spokesperson said Brazier was in satisfactory condition on Feb. 17.
Debris found at the scene led back to Gutierrez’s vehicle, and he was located on Feb. 5, according to state patrol. When confronted by officers, Gutierrez admitted he had been driving, but claimed he thought he had hit a deer, according to his case file. He was then placed under arrest.
Gutierrez’s omnibus hearing, where evidence is determined for trial, is set for April 6, and his trial confirmation is set for April 25 at Whatcom County Superior Court.