UPDATE: Michael Knapp, interim Lynden police chief, after being struck by a vehicle while crossing Fourth Street in Lynden Tuesday evening, has died of his injuries at Harborview Medical Center.
This statement was put out on behalf of Knapp’s family on Wednesday afternoon: “Michael was a family man that touched many and will be sorely missed. He offered so much to his family, friends and community. Thank you for allowing us this private time to cherish his memories and life. There will be a celebration of his life at a future date.”
LYNDEN — Interim Police Chief Michael Knapp was struck unconscious by a vehicle as he crossed Fourth Street at about 5:20 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, and was taken from the scene by responders of the Lynden Fire Department.
Knapp had just been in City Hall Annex to hear short presentations by the three finalists for the Lynden Police Chief position he is filling.
Police officers and others who were also inside immediately went outside and found Knapp lying in the street and unresponsive, witnesses said. The vehicle and driver remained at the scene.
City Council member Brent Lenssen said he ran to the fire department nearby and notified its responders on duty, who quickly got Knapp loaded into a Lynden ambulance and headed south to intercept with county paramedics on the way to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center.
Lynden fire and police officers were on hand, but they also called North Whatcom Fire & Rescue and the Washington State Patrol to take over the investigation, which is normal procedure for when an agency itself is involved in an incident. The State Patrol investigation was still continuing past 8 p.m.
Mayor Scott Korthuis said later it was determined at the hospital that Knapp sustained skull and spinal injuries and he was being airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
In a press release, City Administrator Mike Martin said that Knapp was “critically injured” in the collision. “Please include Chief Knapp and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Knapp, with a long career in police and FBI work, came on board for Lynden this summer after the retirement of John Billester as chief until a new permanent replacement can be chosen. The three finalists for the position are in town this week for interviews and interaction with city officials.