Bicyclist hit and killed in Kirkland early Thursday morning, closes busy intersection near Redmond border
By MATT PHELPS
Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor
December 9, 2011 · Updated 10:53 AM
An SUV struck and killed Bradley Nakatani of Kirkland, 36, while he was riding a bicycle early Thursday morning at the intersection of 132nd Avenue Northeast and Northeast 124th Street in Kirkland near the Redmond border.
The driver of the Ford Excursion, a 27-year-old man from Redmond, was arrested on suspicion of DUI. A bail hearing is set for 2:30 p.m. Friday, according to the King County Prosecutor's Office.
"This is a very busy hub. The debris field was so big we couldn't just shut down a lane or two," said Kirkland Police spokesman Lt. Mike Murray.
The busy intersection was closed during the nine-hour investigation. The closure backed up traffic for a mile on Northeast 124th Street as it is a main arterial through north Kirkland, with access to 405, the Totem Lake shopping area and Redmond. Police have since reopened the intersection.
"The Kirkland Police Department Traffic Investigation Unit is conducting the investigation in this matter," said Kirkland Traffic Sergeant Lisa Brouelette.
Metro buses also had to be rerouted.
"We think (the cyclist) was coming from work but his injuries don't tell us exactly from what direction he was traveling," said Murray.
Police have since determined that the cyclist was heading west on Northeast 124th Street and turned left to go south on Slater Ave. when the SUV, traveling east, struck the man. There was one passenger in the SUV.
Kirkland police responded at 2:50 a.m. to the fatal traffic collision. The man on the bike was wearing reflective clothing, lights and a helmet.
"He had quite a bit of reflective gear," said Murray. "He had a light on his helmet and bike and a very large backpack."
Nakatani's sister and father showed up at the scene a few hours after the accident.
"They are meeting with our chaplain," said Murray.
Police believe the driver went about a block away before returning to the scene following the accident. The man appeared intoxicated and was arrested. He submitted to a blood alcohol test at Evergreen Hospital and then was transported to the Kirkland Police Department.
"It is too early to know what type of speed is involved," said Murray.
Murray said that there are old King County traffic cameras at the intersections and many of the car dealerships in the area have cameras.
"We will be checking all of those to see what we can find out because there really wasn't anyone around at that time," said Murray.
This is the second time this year that a bicyclist has been hit and killed in Kirkland.
John Przychodzen, 49, was riding northbound along the shoulder of Juanita Drive Northeast near 86th Avenue Northeast when he was struck and killed by a truck on July 22.Contact Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor Matt Phelps at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-822-9166 ext. 5052.