CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Suspect identified, charged in hit-run death of bicyclist Robb Mason

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Five and a half months after a hit-run driver killed Robb Mason as he bicycled home from his West Seattle job, police have identified a suspect, and prosecutors have charged him.

After a reader tip, we obtained the charging documents this morning. 20-year-old Mohamed A. Yusuf of High Point is charged with vehicular homicide and felony hit-run.

According to the charging documents, he was identified through “scrupulous detective work” with evidence including car debris at the scene, security video from a Metro bus and neighborhood cameras, and the suspect’s online/phone activity, including searches, links, and messages related to the case. The charging documents say the crash video showed distinctive pre-existing damage to the Hyundai Elantra that struck Mr. Mason and that police cross-referenced a list of all similar vehicles with a database of incidents, zeroed in on this car, found it outside Yusuf’s residence, and impounded it.

He is accused of driving that Elantra faster than 50 mph the evening of July 15th, 2022, when Mr. Mason was hit and killed east of the low bridge. Here’s the narrative written by prosecutors:

63-year-old Robert Mason was on his way home from work. He was riding an electric bicycle and wearing a yellow safety vest. He was riding eastbound in the eastbound lanes and had just entered the eastern marked crosswalk and was turning left to cross the westbound lanes presumedly to rejoin the bike lane on the north side of the street. The road has two lanes in each direction divided by double yellow painted lines. The crosswalks at the intersection are marked and painted with white hash marks.

20-year-old Mohamed Yusuf was driving eastbound in his sedan. He was speeding over 50 mph on the 25 mph-posted street. He crossed the double yellow centerline and plowed into Mr. Mason. Mr. Mason suffered catastrophic injuries and was killed immediately. … The collision was captured on several road cameras and significantly a Metro bus’s forward-facing camera.

The defendant had initially braked but accelerated away. He never checked on Mr. Mason or contacted the police or called 911. He was identified through a scrupulous investigation that included Ring camera video and audio which captured him behind his house telling someone he was driving “55mph,” several admissions he made in his social media feeds, including searches for “hit and run death of cyclist,” “how long does marijuana (weed) stay in your system?” and links to news articles on this specific event … He sent video of the police knocking on his door and shared that his lawyer told him not to answer.

Yusuf has no criminal record and has not been arrested; the case was filed on a “summons” basis, and he is under orders to appear for arraignment next Monday (January 9th) morning in King County Superior Court. We asked King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office spokesperson Casey McNerthney about the decision to file this way; he replied, “The State Constitution and court rules significantly limit the situations in which the Court will issue warrants or hold defendants in jail pending trial,” adding that the decision was “based on judges’ rulings over years in previous unrelated vehicular homicide cases with similar circumstances – particularly noting the defendant’s lack of criminal history or warrant history, even with this serious vehicular homicide charge.”

(WSB photo, July)

Mr. Mason’s death stirred an outcry, particularly in the cycling community, which first placed a “ghost bike” at the scene and then organized two memorial rides, with gatherings addressed by the victim’s widow, in July and in September.

(WSB photo, September)

Prosecutors are asking the arraignment judge to order Yusuf into electronic home monitoring while awaiting trial. According to KCPAO’s McNerthney: “If the defendant violates any terms imposed by the Court or does not appear at a required court date, prosecutors can make a motion for a warrant with a bail request.”

ADDED 6:57 PM: We reached out this morning to ask if Claudia Mason wanted to comment. Tonight we’ve received this:

It means a lot to me that so many people remember and care about Robb.

His death has hit our community very hard and for those of us in the cycling community it’s been a painful reminder of how precarious our commutes can be when we are required to travel through areas that are inherently dangerous.

My own life was stolen when Robb was so brutally killed and I am relieved that the defendant will be arraigned in a few days. It has been a very long and agonizing wait to get to this point and I know that the process is far from over but this news is a big step in the right direction towards getting some justice for my beloved husband Robb Mason.

77 Replies to "CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Suspect identified, charged in hit-run death of bicyclist Robb Mason"

  • Greg January 4, 2023 (9:41 am)

    I’m very happy to hear the police have a suspect. If he is convicted they should give him the maximum sentence not only for what he did but his actions (or inaction) after hitting someone.

  • Eric1 January 4, 2023 (9:45 am)

    A admirable human being would advise a criminal to turn themselves in if they commit a crime. A lawyer, on the other hand, advises them to not answer the door. Fits what l was told as a child on choosing a career that would not embarrass my parents.  

    • wscommuter January 4, 2023 (10:00 am)

      You’re saying that your parents would have been embarrassed if you’d chosen a career that involved defending the U.S. Constitution?  Interesting. Good news on the arrest – hopefully a conviction will follow.   

    • DC January 4, 2023 (10:29 am)

      It is very likely his lawyer did advise him to turn himself in. That doesn’t absolve the lawyer from advising the client of his constitutional rights. Very glad the detectives were able to catch this criminal while working within the legal system. 

    • DJ January 4, 2023 (11:18 am)

      I wish laypersons would educate themselves on what attorneys actually do before opening their mouths.  Glad the alleged culprit has been apprehended.

    • Flo B January 4, 2023 (12:33 pm)

      Eric1. So, you promising you’ll NEVER retain a lawyer for ANY reason?? 

    • Anxious Driver January 4, 2023 (1:01 pm)

      Everyone has the right to a fair trial.

    • Jeff January 5, 2023 (11:01 am)

      Thank god for lawyers. I do not understand why you’re against them. It puts the onus on the DA to prove the case out. Why would you want otherwise? That would be fascism. 

  • sbre January 4, 2023 (9:53 am)

    Thank you SPD detectives for your diligent work and finding the (likely) culprit and (hopefully) building a strong case against him so his lawyers won’t be able to find a way to keep him from facing the justice he deserves.My thoughts of support remain with his family and friends!

  • T Rex January 4, 2023 (10:27 am)

    He should not in any WAY be allowed to be home on a monitoring device since he left the scene of the crime in the first place. He knew he hit someone, knew soon enough that this person died and still did not turn himself in. In home monitoring is bull****. He did not flee then, what makes the case that he will NOT flee now that he has been caught. In this day and age, if you can afford to buy pot or go out and drink, you can afford to get an Uber ride home. Period.  So sad for the man’s family. 

    • Josh January 4, 2023 (7:49 pm)

      I wonder if this is the same guy I noticed flying up and down 35th all last summer in a white Elantra with half a bumper and a trail of weed scent behind it.And because of well established precedent that you can kill with your car and not face major consequences this guy doesn’t even have to be arrested for murdering someone.

    • AinthePNW January 5, 2023 (7:42 am)

      I’m with you. I’m DONE with the insane stance on crime in Seattle and Washington state. How in the actual heck do you let a murderer continue to prance around the community by issuing a summons? This is completely backwards.I consider myself a “Progressive,” but the complete lawless state of Seattle is mind blowing. I’m either: (1) moving back to the east coast; or (2) running for Herbold’s council seat. No joke. It makes me sad to see so many vehicles in West Seattle with boots on their tires because their property is constantly stolen and SPD does not have the resources to do anything about it.

  • Ts January 4, 2023 (10:29 am)

    I am so happy to hear this. I still haven’t been to another massage therapist since losing Rob as it is hard to build that level of trust with a provider .Given this guy was seen upon the approach to the bridge veering toward another bike rider in what was reported as a threatening manner would it be possible to charge him and get a conviction with a stronger charge? Is this really someone we feel comfortable having out and will he be allowed to drive? 

  • Ms. Sparkles January 4, 2023 (10:33 am)

    Ratted out by his own Ring camera…. that’s wild.  I’m glad they found him and that he will be held accountable, but am SUPER curious about the “how” parts.  Technological convenience becomes a hinderance when you kill someone; there’s a Black Mirror episode in there somewhere. 

    • junctioneer January 4, 2023 (11:08 am)

      Also super curious. Although it doesn’t say it was his Ring camera, rather that it captured him in his own yard.I’m curious about what “admissions” he made on social media (and were these private messages then that were shared by an informant?) and presumably social media handed over additional information in response to a warrant.I am certainly glad that this issue was pursued doggedly enough to result in this.

      • WSB January 4, 2023 (11:21 am)

        According to the charging papers, they subpoenaed his phone & Snapchat records.

      • Lamont January 4, 2023 (11:56 am)

        If it wasn’t his Ring camera that’s interesting because Washington is two-party consent, but I have no idea how your backyard is treated in terms of your right to privacy.  If he recorded himself and the police got a warrant for that it would be much more clear they could use it as evidence.

        • Gb January 4, 2023 (3:52 pm)

          I believe the RCW provides an exemption for crimes 9.73.030. Most states that have 2 party consent laws allow the use of recordings in documenting evidence of a crime I believe even if the other party does not consent. 

          • Lamont January 5, 2023 (12:05 am)

            The two-party consent law only has an exception for conversations “which convey threats of extortion, blackmail, bodily harm, or other unlawful requests or demands”.  Confessing to a crime is covered by it.

        • Josh January 4, 2023 (7:54 pm)

          Two party consent only applies to recording of audio or video with audio. So recording video does not apply unless it’s in a place with a reasonable expectation of privacy (e.g. in your house but not your yard).  also placing a notification on your property, like the little ring sticker, qualifies as proper notification of audio recording and hence the implied consent of anyone who could see that sticker and then ‘choosing’ to be audible makes the recording legal.

          • Lamont January 5, 2023 (12:10 am)

            I seriously doubt the Ring sticker on my neighbor’s device constitutes consent for me to be taped on my own property.  I also suspect that the courts are going to hold a reasonable right to privacy in one’s backyard.(I would be willing to bet though that Ring handed over the evidence from his own device against him due to a warrant so it doesn’t matter though)

          • Josh January 5, 2023 (1:15 pm)

            Lamont, video can be recorded of you in any outdoor space in the state without your consent, including your backyard from your neighbors backyard.  The courts hold no reasonable right to privacy in your backyard, believe it or not but that’s how it is.The notification (eg the sticker) applies to audio only.  In order to legally record audio consent must be obtained.  If you are notified that you are being surveilled (like with a sign or with speech) you don’t have to give explicit verbal permission for the recording to be  legal but rather if you keep talking without saying you revoke permission to be recorded then consent is legally rendered.  Like it or not that’s house it is.Anything visible outside has no reasonable expectation of privacy.  If I can see into your yard from my house your yard is fair game for video recording.  Creepy but true.  If you have kids I can not store recordings of them is the only exception.Do some research and know your rights and responsibilities in our new surveillance state rather than hope and suppose.

        • Lindsey January 5, 2023 (10:16 am)

          You guys sure are giving Amazon a lot of trust with those Ring cameras. They shared data with police at least 11 times in 2022 without the knowledge or consent of the users. 

      • spicy crampon January 4, 2023 (3:14 pm)

        It’s fairly well known these days that Ring shares your data with the police.  The police simply make a request and if Amazon determines there’s a good reason to do so, they let the police have your private data without notifying you nor needing to get a warrant.   For this reason I will never own one of these devices.

        • sb2780 January 5, 2023 (2:37 pm)

          Me neither, but the problem is that everyone else in your neighborhood does have one–for better or worse. So far they’ve been farily useless in detering porch pirates or catching anyone who steals your catalytic converter but people still install them.

  • Mj January 4, 2023 (10:49 am)

    Excellent news now let’s hope the system makes the perp accountable!

  • Alki resident January 4, 2023 (10:55 am)

    What’s with the leniency? Robb deserves better than this. Robb you are so very missed. 

    • Lack Thereof January 4, 2023 (4:56 pm)

      This kind of treatment is common with traffic deaths, even when they’re hit&runs or DUIs. He will likely even keep his license.We have a “vulnerable roadway users” state law on the books that’s intended to hike punishments in cases like this, but it almost never comes into play since it certain charges that are rarely used.

      • Ts January 4, 2023 (8:38 pm)

        I’ve never heard of this before. Would this be something more likely to be used in cases like this when he was reported to have been targeting other/another bike rider before the bridge and he then also swerved towards Rob and had to cross a double yellow line to hit him?

  • Jeepney January 4, 2023 (10:57 am)

    Relieved to read this, such a tragic loss of life.  

  • P January 4, 2023 (12:06 pm)

    I hope Robb’s family gets justice. Living close to High Point, it’s ridiculous how fast they drive through these neighborhoods. And I’m talking 30-40mph down a 20. 

  • Kathy January 4, 2023 (12:27 pm)

    Who took down the ghost bike?

    • Chris January 4, 2023 (12:49 pm)

      That is a good question! Two of the Ghost Bikes Critical Mass has put up have been taken down. It’s very odd and unsettling. 

      • Josh January 4, 2023 (2:04 pm)

        No idea in this specific case, but I know ghost bikes can get removed fairly quickly if they block sight lines to intersections, signs or traffic lights, interfere with access ramps, or hang over bus stops or other areas of heavy pedestrian traffic.

  • Kathy January 4, 2023 (12:35 pm)

    Notice to drivers going 10-20-30 + miles over the speed limit on arterials: You are so morally wrong on two counts: you are increasing the threat to people walking and biking near these arterials, and you are increasing the output of energy into the climate to the detriment of all creatures on planet Earth. Commenters who routinely state that it is the city’s fault for putting the speed limits too low, you are putting the blame in the wrong place.

    • asdf January 4, 2023 (1:41 pm)

      Let’s be real though, going 35 in a 25 is very different than going 50 in a 25.

      • Alkistu January 5, 2023 (5:10 am)

        At 25 MPH 8 out of ten unprotected street users will survive. At 35 mph less than half will survive. At 40 mph only one person will statistically survive. This is the reality when you are no longer sitting comfortably in a car, yet the car drivers have less patience than pedestrians and cyclists.

    • Conrad January 4, 2023 (2:11 pm)

      Ultimate responsibility is always on the driver.  I wish SDOT would design roads for the intended speed limit rather than just post it for 25 and say gee whiz why does this keep happening when people are killed.

      • bill January 4, 2023 (11:13 pm)

        The roads were designed for the intended speeds at the time. Our problem now is how to deal with this dangerous legacy infrastructure. 

        • WestSeattleBadTakes January 5, 2023 (11:57 am)

          The city has not changed their design standards sufficiently. Delridge just went through a major change and has a speed limit of 25MPH. It is not designed for 25MPH.

  • Jns January 4, 2023 (12:57 pm)

    Wait, the driver swerved across the double yellow line to deliberately strike him? Throw the book at him. 

    • Elton January 4, 2023 (1:17 pm)

      Purely speculation: given their search history I’m guessing they were under the influence of marijuana and accidentally drifted into the other lane. I find it unlikely that he went out of his way to purposely hit the bicyclist.

      • Ts January 4, 2023 (8:42 pm)

        He was seen swerving towards another bike rider right before the bridge. On purpose to scare/threaten bike riders and accidentally made contact? Purposely hit him? I know they need to charge what they think they can get a guilty plea but I hope they at least consider motive and using a motor vehicle as a weapon vs vehicular manslaughter 

      • WS bike person January 4, 2023 (9:23 pm)

        You apparently don’t ride a bike in Seattle. Drivers pull this all the time. Like a game of chicken or just to threaten and scare someone. It is a daily occurrence on my route. 

    • Paul January 4, 2023 (1:46 pm)

      I would suspect that he could not control his car going that speed in that area, therefore causing him to cross the double yellow line.  I highly doubt that he intentionally crossed the line.  But that is just MY opinion.

  • Eva Messman January 4, 2023 (1:10 pm)

    Another stoned driver.What a surprise…

    • My two cents January 4, 2023 (2:40 pm)

      @eva – care to cite your reference for your assertion? How does this compare to the rate of unlicensed drivers? Other impairments? 

      • Rhonda January 4, 2023 (3:35 pm)

        In the City of Bellevue the most common substance impaired drivers are cited or arrested for DUI in recent years is THC. Number two is alcohol/THC combined. Number three is alcohol alone. Those numbers were the opposite a decade ago. The number of citations for having open/available marijuana and detectable smoke in vehicles are higher than ever (similar penalty to having open alcohol container). Most DUI fatal accidents statewide in recent years have involved THC according to WSP/WSDOT.

      • Also John January 4, 2023 (3:54 pm)

        @My Two Cents……I’m looking at an article titled Marijuana DUI In Washington State, July 30, 2020.      It states recreational Marijuana was approved in 2012.  ‘In those eight years the number of Marijuana DUI arrest have steadily climbed.  Over 100 of the 503 fatal crashes in 2016 were caused by drivers who tested positive for Marijuana.’    That’s unacceptable to me.   Your comment sounds argumentative.  It makes it seem like you see no problem driving stoned.

        • my two cents January 4, 2023 (5:40 pm)

          @also John … I googled the term you used and got law office results. not causing problems here — just want to review the source/reference/methodology data for myself as opposed to “articles” or suppositions. Thx.

          • bill January 4, 2023 (11:15 pm)

            Ride a bike around the city and you will notice lots of cars trailing pot smoke. 

  • Admiral DOn January 4, 2023 (1:22 pm)

    I am glad SPD did not drop the ball.  Lets hope for conviction and just punishment.  It is sad that we live in a neighborhood with such people.  Please, Justice for Robb Mason.  

    • Anne January 4, 2023 (2:02 pm)

      What a backhanded “compliment”  can’t you just say a simple “ thank-you”? If not-don’t say anything. 

      • Brian January 5, 2023 (8:51 am)

        Nah it’s fine to hold SPD accountable even when they’re doing the right thing.  Keep it up.

  • Rhonda January 4, 2023 (1:25 pm)

    “how long does marijuana (weed) stay in your system?” The suspect searching online for the above information is the part of him fleeing justice from this horrible crime that gets to me the most. He was most likely driving intoxicated on THC at the time he struck the victim and this absolutely led to his death. Anyone driving around our region or walking through busy intersections can smell marijuana smoke emanating from passing cars day and night. Combining DUI with speeding over double the speed limit on a confusing stretch of roadway meant the victim rode into an almost certain deathtrap. The suspect should have been taken into custody immediately after charging as he may be long gone after seeing/hearing that he’s the prime suspect/charged.

  • Roxhill neighbor January 4, 2023 (1:43 pm)

    Yes!! Finally justice can be served!! This is the news I wanted to hear so badly! Rest in peace Robb!!

  • Conrad January 4, 2023 (2:16 pm)

    It doesn’t bring Robb back but this news is a huge relief. I too want to know who removed the ghost bike

  • WSDad January 4, 2023 (3:24 pm)

    Thats great news. I hope the driver goes to prison for a very long time. RIP

  • AIDM January 4, 2023 (3:59 pm)

    Is the collision footage publicly available yet? I’m truly interested in bicycle safety, ride this route often and use a different strategy at this point in the commute as I’ve identified it as the crux of a high-risk area.Though heart breaking, it would be interesting to confirm what seems to have occurred. Sounds like the prosecution is alleging that the driver attempted to overtake the rider illegally, recklessly, and at a high rate of speed and was surprised that the rider performed a left turn at the crosswalk. Then fled like a coward instead of trying to save the rider’s life.Very glad to hear that this was tracked until charges were filed. Sounds like top notch, data-focused, police work.Heartfelt condolences to Robb’s family and friends.

  • Skeptic January 4, 2023 (4:05 pm)

    Anyone who would run over a cyclist then drive off leaving them to die is not to be trusted to abide by “at home” monitoring.  Please arrest this man and set no bail.  Let’s disregard judges’ rulings over years in previous unrelated vehicular homicide cases with similar circumstances” for this case and keep Mr. Yusef in jail.  He has had five and a half months of freedom since the homicide.  I don’t want him driving in W. Seattle ever again if possible.

  • Ly January 4, 2023 (4:24 pm)

    I’m glad they have a suspect, but why so lenient? His death was senseless. I feel for his friends and family grieving him.A friend of mine was just killed in a hit and run in Burien on December 12th. The driver that hit him, hit him so hard and crashed into a fence, sending my friend into an embankment and into someone’s backyard. Then he drove off. The police investigated the crash but they didn’t even know someone was killed. They didn’t even find his body until next day when the neighbor saw him laying there in the backyard. I hope justice is served. May Robb and my friend Omar rest in peace.

    • M January 5, 2023 (9:42 am)

      I’m so sorry to hear of your friend’s death. 

  • Stan January 4, 2023 (4:36 pm)

    Excellent work identifying a suspect!

  • Fred January 4, 2023 (4:48 pm)

    As a victim of a hit and run accident while riding my bike a little more than a year ago, I am grateful that in this case the driver has been identified and charged.  I hope it brings some solace to Robb’s family and justice to the driver. My guy was never caught.

  • Zoey January 4, 2023 (5:19 pm)

    Thank you for sharing this West Seattle Blog team! Can you link to a PDF of the full complaint for this/in the future? Really appreciate it.

    • WSB January 4, 2023 (5:28 pm)

      No, we don’t routinely do that as there are often witness names etc. But it’s a publicly available document – you can buy it through the King County Superior Court website.

  • SlimJim January 4, 2023 (6:56 pm)

    Driving stoned is driving drunk. The two are equivalent in that they are impaired, illegal driving. Let’s get real society. Getting stoned? Stay home and do no harm. Stay out of your car.

  • audifans January 4, 2023 (9:24 pm)

    well this is what the police do. They diligently sift thru the forensics and information. There aren’t enough police just out and about to actually ‘stop’ crimes like this and that isn’t their job. But they can apprehend a  no good person like this after the fact. And that is important. Good job!

  • Kathy January 4, 2023 (10:14 pm)

    20 yr old driving 30 mph over the speed limit kills Robb Mason on July 15th 2022. 16 year old driving 25-30 mph over the speed limit killed Nicholas Wolf on May 6th 2022.  At that age they think they are immortal. Maybe we should raise the driving age and do a better job of training new drivers. If you are a hardship case or need an exception, get a waiver. That might get some of these crazy drivers off the streets. Let them take the bus, walk or bike to school/work. I always cringe to see how many student vehicles there are in the West Seattle High School parking lot (and very few bikes). What is a human life worth?

    • M January 5, 2023 (6:27 am)

      Still no charges in the killing of Nicholas Wolf. There was no tricky detective work required either as the killer returned to the scene. I wonder what will happen with that case. I’m glad SPD followed through on this one at least, especially with their disappointing clearance rates. I also think that our state, like the rest of the country, needs a massive overhaul of the licensing structure for both drivers and vehicles, but I am doubtful we will ever get it. 

  • William January 5, 2023 (2:48 am)

    Crazy there’s no home monitoring yet, whether you agree it’s effective or not. Per King5 there won’t be until at least next Monday. Plenty of time to skip town. Last line of this article.

  • Alkistu January 5, 2023 (5:18 am)

    55 mph, I see this flashing on the warning sign almost every time I am climb Admiral hill on bike. Of course, with that in mind I have to negotiate entering that flow of traffic when the bike lane ends near the top. I cannot tell you how many times I see theses speeders at the Admiral district traffic lights.Vision zero is being achieved in other cities. Jersey City and Hoboken as well as NYC are examples. What is the difference is enforcement. When the enforcement graph line goes up the fatality and injury graph line go down at nearly the same angle. We do not need more police officers to babysit adults. We need camera enforcement.

  • on board January 5, 2023 (8:25 am)

    They haven’t even arrested the suspect. He’s happy at home watching Netflix.

  • Glen January 5, 2023 (8:39 am)

    Good job, SPD, piecing this all together. This man is a criminal and a coward and deserves to be in jail. 

  • Jennifer January 5, 2023 (1:08 pm)

    Thanks for the update about this very sad story. It’s another reminder for people to drive responsibly! ❤️

  • Judi Finney January 6, 2023 (6:13 am)

    On behalf of Robb’s widow Claudia, I am inviting any of you that are able to attend this coming arraignment on Monday, January 9th, 2023. Courthouse address: 516 3rd Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104. Arraignments on that day begin at 8:30am and there is no pre-scheduled order in which each arraignment begins. This means that if any of you attended, you could be waiting for upwards of an hour or more. Claudia’s victim advocate stated that anyone can attend. The only caveat is that if the courtroom fills up the overflow would not be able to enter the courtroom. I believe there is a waiting area for overflow, however I am not completely certain of this. Thank you for your love and support these past many painful months. Please continue to hold Claudia in your hearts and send her an extra bit of love in the coming days and months. Blessings and Happy New Year.

  • Rideabout January 8, 2023 (1:50 pm)

    I’m relieved that a suspect has been identified. I wish Claudia resilience and strength as this case winds through the legal system. May the culprit be severely punished.
    This and other tragic bicycle deaths remind me that painted lines and little plastic posts do not stop motor vehicles from deadly errors or aggressive anger. We should insist on physical barriers and separated bikeways like they have in the Netherlands and Denmark.

Sorry, comment time is over.