David L. Huisenga makes his first appearance Monday in Lewis County Superior Court on suspicion of hit and run in Tuesday's fatal motorcycle crash.

Driver Who Fled Fatal I-5 Crash Allegedly Set Fire to Truck, Reported It Stolen

By Natalie Johnson / njohnson@chronline.com

A Castle Rock man was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly admitted to fleeing the scene of a crash that killed a Chehalis motorcyclist, then setting his truck on fire to avoid arrest.

David L. Huisenga, 44, was charged Wednesday in Lewis County Superior Court with one charge of hit and run involving a death and second-degree arson.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher asked for $75,000 bail at Huisenga’s first appearance Wednesday, citing his efforts to conceal the crime by burning his truck after fleeing the scene of the crash.

“This is not his first hit and run,” Meagher added.

Huisenga was twice convicted of hit and run in 1998 and also has a reckless driving conviction.

Defense Attorney Rachael Tiller, representing Huisenga at his first appearance, asked for $25,000 bail, noting his lack of recent criminal history, stability and the presence of supporters at court.

“He’s very compassionate,” Theresa Huber, Huisenga’s girlfriend, told The Chronicle before the hearing. “This is such a shock.”

District Court Judge R.W. Buzzard, presiding over Superior Court for the day, imposed $100,000 bail, also raising concerns about the actions Huisenga took to avoid arrest.

The Washington State Patrol received a report just after 5 a.m. Tuesday of a crash involving multiple vehicles at Exit 80 of northbound Interstate 5 in Centralia.

According to a report from the State Patrol, Michael T. Fields, 57, of Chehalis, was driving northbound when his motorcycle tipped over and slid across his lane into the shoulder. He was ejected and hit by a 2018 Freightliner semi truck and killed at the scene.

The State Patrol learned that a red 2001 Chevrolet Silverado truck was in some way involved in the crash, but the vehicle reportedly left the scene. Detectives asked members of the public to come forward with any information they might have about the crash.

A license plate belonging to the truck, registered to Huisenga, was found at the scene of the crash, according to court documents.

Meanwhile, at about 9:15 a.m. that morning, a Washington State Department of Transportation worker saw smoke coming from an area near Exit 63 of I-5 south of Chehalis.

Fire crews responded and found a vehicle on fire. While the vehicle was destroyed, crews found a license plate matching the one left at the scene of the crash.

Fire investigators determined the truck was intentionally set on fire, according to court documents.

At 2:40 p.m. on Tuesday, Huisenga walked into the Castle Rock Police Department to report his truck stolen. However, during an interview with police, Huisenga recanted the theft report and admitted to leaving the scene of the crash.

According to court documents, Huisenga told police he was driving north on I-5 in the right lane when he noticed a motorcycle coming up quickly behind him. He told investigators he merged to the left lane in an attempt to let the motorcycle continue past him. However, when he merged, he hit the motorcycle, according to court documents.

Huisenga told police he saw the motorcycle topple and knew the rider could not survive, but fled the scene. He reportedly drove back by the scene on southbound I-5 before stopping his truck off Exit 63, which is at the freeway’s intersection with state Route 505.

He then reportedly walked about 15 miles south to the Castle Rock Police Department.

Huisenga’s next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday.

 

3 Replies to “Driver Who Fled Fatal I-5 Crash Allegedly Set Fire to Truck, Reported It Stolen”

  1. Kevin A Fields

    I appreciate the support and caring thoughts from the community. This was a tragedy. My uncle Mike was an amazing man. Always kind, considerate, and generous to no end to everyone.
    I can remember as a young adult , calling him from a pay phone. He dropped everything, grabbed his tools, and drove half way across the state to fix my broken down car. He was hard working and dependable.
    On another occasion I watched him fix a young pregnant girl’s car broken down in the middle of the night in the middle of a down pour.

    He was such a kind man.

    To run such a kind man over on the freeway and to leave him dead is an unforgivable act of violence.

    Please pray for my Uncle Mike, for his friends, and for his family that God takes him in his arms and continues to watch over him.

  2. Shawna Benitez

    A family of hearts ache over the last few days, not because a simple life was taken but because their son, husband, brother, father, uncle, best friend is no longer here.
    Michael T. Fields (Mike) was more than just one of those things, He was all of those things and a million more.

    All his life HE GAVE, to anybody that needed him – Without question, without judgement, without a second wasted, he would drop anything he was doing to talk, to care for family, friends or even a stranger. He loved quietly and deeply and was for me, a voice of reason, support and guidance when things in my life didn’t make sense. When I thought there was something I couldn’t do, he was there. If I didn’t succeed he would laugh… say “Bummer, try again”.

    Today, I’m ‘trying again’, to remember all the good he instilled in me and not let my anger cloud my judgement and make me lose faith in humanity.

    I’m ‘trying again’ today to come to terms that he is no longer a phone call away and I’m regretting every day that I didn’t call just to say hello. I’m trying again and again to find comfort in the knowledge that he died doing something he loved, Riding. I’m trying to find solace in all the good memories of him and not dwell on how he was taken from us.
    Anybody that knew my Uncle needs to do the same. Hold his memory close to your heart and just remember the good, help who you can, love your family through thick and thin and never give up. He didn’t.

  3. Tracy L. Dean

    My thoughts are with the family of Mr. Fields. Dont know you guys but can image what your going through.

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