FOLLOWUP: Hit-run victim identified

(Sunday photo sent by Eddie, “ghost bike” memorial at collision site)

6:32 PM: Still no word of an arrest in Friday night’s hit-run death of a man riding a bicycle, but we now know more about the victim: The King County Medical Examiner’s Office identified him today as 63-year-old Robert Mason. A reader tells us they were notified today of Mr. Mason’s death because he was their massage therapist, who commuted to West Seattle by bicycle from another area of the city. The texter said, “He was kind and funny with a great ‘bedside’ manner. Kept doing the work after he could have retired because he helped so many people.” So far, police have not made any additional information public beyond what was released the night of the crash, that he was hit by the “driver of a white or silver sedan” that had been going eastbound on SW Spokane Street east of the low bridge, and fled that way. If you have any information, the SPD tip line is 206-233-5000.

Meantime, another reader reported seeing an SDOT crew at/near the site early this morning. So far SDOT’s media office has been unable to tell us what that crew was doing or whether it was related to the crash, but spokesperson Ethan Bergerson notes, “It is our standard practice to send a traffic engineer out to the site of every fatal crash to investigate the site from an engineering perspective and determine if there are any short or long-term safety improvements that can be made. My understanding is that this evaluation will be occurring at this location soon.”

10:09 PM: Two notes – first, we’ve just heard from someone via email and Twitter saying Seattle Critical Mass will ride to the scene on Friday, July 29th, at 7 pm, for a memorial. Second, city traffic engineer Venu Nemani is among the guests for Wednesday night’s online Morgan Community Association meeting; he’s scheduled to talk about the California/Findlay improvements announced after the collision that killed a pedestrian there, but may also be asked about the Spokane Street collision.

16 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Hit-run victim identified"

  • Al King July 19, 2022 (6:37 pm)

    WSB. Any word on if the car actually came across the bridge or came from Harbor Island??

  • Alki resident July 19, 2022 (7:11 pm)

    Anyone have a pic of him? I think that was my massage therapist years ago. Did he live in Magnolia?

  • Kevin on Delridge July 19, 2022 (7:23 pm)

    Robert sounds like a wonderful person. It is wonderful to get a glimpse into their life. My condolences to his family, friends, and clients.

    It is difficult to know if this would have helped in this situation, I get the sense it could be since they “commuted to West Seattle by bicycle from another area of the city” but even if that isn’t the case I think the change described below is worthwhile.

    The city should consider moving the under bridge route entrance/exit to happen before or closer to the crosswalk. I recall it taking me 3-4 rides before I noticed there as a path, the first thing you encounter is this crosswalk so it isn’t unreasonable (given the general state of bike infrastructure here) that you’re supposed to press the beg button and wait.

    There definitely could be a concern around the gentleness of the turn, but you could wind it through a bit to make it more comfortable. I understand some may just use the crosswalk but that shouldn’t stop us from making this area more accessible to new bicycle commuters and keep traffic moving by funneling  more bike traffic under the bridge, especially considering there may be more bicycle commuters when the Marginal project is completed.

    • Kevin on Delridge July 19, 2022 (9:12 pm)

      Or, better yet, if  the access from the east needs to be maintained a second egress could be added in the location marked in green.

    • Poultine July 20, 2022 (10:25 am)

      In my experience (bike commuted downtown 3 days a week pre-pandemic), most cyclists don’t take the under-bridge route and instead cross at the crosswalk. The path under the bridge is problematic — not really wide enough for two people to comfortably pass each other at the turn, frequently overrun by plants, very dark in the winter, and not exactly the most comfortable area to ride through in the dark during the off-season. Plus, the part you picture above is rough — you have people coming down the bridge at 15-30mph and (maybe) going around that curve while people are coming in the opposite direction. Going west, it’s challenging to stay on your side of the path while looking up the bridge for oncoming traffic (to your left on the turn) and looking for people coming from the crosswalk (straight/to your right). There is a lot of room for improvement over there, and that’s before considering the fact that some vehicles treat it as a raceway, including trucks apparently anxious to get to Harbor Island, and the cyclists that aren’t always playing by the rules, either. It’s one of those parts of the commute where I’m always on-guard for unhappy surprises. 

      • photon July 21, 2022 (8:27 am)

        Agree with all of the above. I’m a newer bike commuter, and I didn’t even know that was a loop-around until these comments on the original story. I tried it this week and thought “oh wow, this is sketchy.” I did not use it on the return trip back into WS and would be very wary of using it in the dark. That mess is definitely the hairiest part of my commute; every way I’ve tried it has its own problems. (Also, does that beg button actually function? I’ve waited a loooong time before finally giving up.)

  • orb July 19, 2022 (9:21 pm)

    I am shocked reading this. Rob was an amazing massage therapist and an overall nice guy. I saw him for over a year and we always had interesting conversations. He was so easy to talk to.He always had a calm demeanor and enjoyed life. When I would walk in with a “whack-a-mole” ailment, I knew he would help ease the pain and give me some tips for recovery. He biked to WS from Magnolia to do massage therapy part time and he was semi-retired. He always spoke fondly of his wife and their travels. I am so sorry for his wife and hope she finds peace eventually going forward.

    • Alki resident July 19, 2022 (10:00 pm)

      You’ve confirmed it’s him. I’m devastated. He was such a great guy. He healed me after a car accident ten years ago. Always made me feel comfortable and in the end, never needed him after 6 months of treatment, he was that good. My heart breaks for his family, I’m so very sorry. The community will suffer without him. 

  • pinx July 20, 2022 (6:27 am)

    I am shocked and saddened by the loss of Rob Mason. He was a gifted massage therapist who helped me a lot. I saw him weekly and always enjoyed our conversations. He was an interesting guy who enjoyed photography and travel. I got the sense that he kept up with the massage work not because he needed the money but because he enjoyed the company and being in service to others. Truly a loss to the WS community and my condolences to his wife, friends and family. 

  • Rosalie July 20, 2022 (7:30 am)

    Robb was an astute and caring clinician, beloved by all his patients. Our family is heartbroken.  Highline PT, the office where he practiced, is collecting cards to send to wife. I’m certain all remembrances will be appreciated. 

  • Patricia valentine July 20, 2022 (11:57 am)

    I did not know Robert Mason, however, I send my condolences to his family. May you all find peace within as time goes on. Love galore wins.

  • Aaron July 20, 2022 (2:06 pm)

    My condolences to Roberts friends and family. I bicycle commute through there every day, and it is an incredibly dangerous crossing area, and I regularly watch drivers blow through the red light at Spokane and Klickitat. I am unclear on the details- was Robert crossing Spokane St or Klickitat?If the car driver had crossed the low bridge at that time of the early evening, why hasn’t SPD obtained the ticket camera footage and arrested the murderer?!? There cannot be that many white sedans that have a bridge pass, so that car should have triggered the photo ticket equipment!

    • WSB July 20, 2022 (2:32 pm)

      As noted elsewhere (maybe in a different thread), enforcement-camera photos cannot be used for any other purpose than what they’re taken for – the specific traffic violation the camera is supposed to catch. This is state law.

      • Aaron July 20, 2022 (3:01 pm)

        So no camera footage… but tickets are public record I believe. Who got a ticket that evening crossing the bridge illegally?  

  • Jen July 20, 2022 (9:52 pm)

    Does anyone know if there is a memorial fund or anyway to send condolences to Robb’s family? He was also my massage therapist for a time and such a great guy. Feel so bad for his wife (who he often raved about).  Such a heartbreaking loss.

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