Family mourns victim of suspected DUI crash

BELLINGHAM -- It may be a grim reminder on New Year's Eve of the dangers of drinking and driving.

Washington State Troopers say alcohol was likely a factor in a fatal collision early Tuesday morning in Bellingham. It happened along State Route 539, also known as Guide Meridian Rd, and Smith Road.

Troopers say an SUV driven by 23-year old Travis Holst, of Ferndale, was going northbound at a high rate of speed.  Witnesses said he was driving erratically and was using all lanes to get around traffic, before crossing the center line and striking a Honda Civic driven by 20-year old Brox Browning of Lynden.  Browning died at the scene. Holst was transported to St. Joe’s Hospital in Bellingham, but died a short time later.

" was always the funniest guy in the room." said Blake Browning, Brox's brother. "No one could make me laugh like him and no one could laugh like he could."

Browning is now coming to grips with the fact that he’ll never hear his brother’s laugh again.

"The fact I’ll never get to see him again for something he wasn't  in control of, something he couldn't help kind of hurts," said Browning.

Troopers said there was a strong smell of alcohol coming off Holst at the time of the crash.

"This is a very unfortunate reminder, a very sad reminder what not to do tonight," said Trooper Keith Leary, in a warning about the dangers of drinking and driving. "This should be a wake-up call for everybody to start off the new year."