Motorcyclist killed fleeing troopers on stolen bike

by: Natasha Chen Updated:

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NEAR RENTON, Wash. —

A motorcyclist was killed fleeing troopers just east of Renton early Thursday morning.

An investigator with the King County Medical Examiner said that next of kin has been notified. A friend who visited the crash scene identified the motorcyclist as 44-year-old John Cotton of Maple Valley.

Washington State Patrol said two motorcyclists were speeding on I-405 toward the Renton area around 1 a.m. Thursday.

A trooper attempted to stop both riders, but they fled in different directions. The trooper followed one of the motorcyclists onto Sunset Boulevard, then onto SR 169 or Maple Valley Highway.

The rider ended up on a bike trail which runs parallel to SR 169 east of I-405. The bike trail is usually used by joggers and bikers during the day.

Trooper Karim Boukabou, a spokesperson for the Washington State Patrol, said that the trooper involved in the chase lost sight of the motorcyclist at one point.

Renton police saw the motorcyclist going in the opposite direction of the trooper. Authorities believe the motorcyclist had made a U-turn to flee.

“They did see it northbound still on the bike trail, and when Renton PD turned around from what I understand is; that’s when they found the driver of the motorcycle laying on the trail. And the motorcycle had already crashed,” Boukabou said.

A steel post, one of many used to mark the barriers at crosswalks, had been pushed over.

Boukabou said the man was found about 30 feet from the Harley motorcycle. It had Arizona license plates but was later determined to be stolen from Lacey.

“Fog obviously limits the visibility. It adds another factor in which a person has to maneuver their vehicle. Not only fog, but I believe these reflective stripes are a little bit more slick than the rest of the road,” Boukabou said, referring to the stripes of the crosswalk.

Investigators are now calculating how fast he might have been traveling.

The second motorcyclist has not been located. Troopers said that person was riding what looked like a sports bike.

People using the popular Cedar River Trail were taken aback by the crash scene.

“A lot of people use bicycles and jog on this trail, and that could have been another fatality really easily,” said Jim Smith, who walks the trail a couple of times a week.

He said he noticed the barrier post knocked down in the impact.

“Had to get hit with a tremendous amount of velocity to break one of these posts out of the concrete and asphalt. He must have been traveling at a really high rate of speed. I can see why there was a fatality, because he must have laid it down hard,” Smith said.