Suspect charged in deadly hit and run after King Co. Council budgets $50K reward to crack the case

A man has now been charged with vehicular homicide and hit-and-run after a tipster contacted Seattle Police and Crime Stoppers with knowledge of the crime. The victim's family said a $50,000 reward budgeted from the King County Council helped incentivize people to come forward. 

On April 11, 2021, 63-year-old Michael Colmant was riding his bike northbound on Seward Park Ave. S. in Seattle when a silver sedan driving southbound crossed into his lane and hit him head-on. A witness said that driver, later identified as 25-year-old Julian Hamilton, never stopped and sped off after the impact.  

Colmant died at the hospital.

Colmant was the deputy director at King County International Airport at Boeing Field, where he has worked since 1999. His colleagues praised him as a dedicated and supportive mentor. 

"He was, first of all, a talented public servant and second of all, a super nice guy," said Rod Dembowski, a King County Councilmember.

Dembowski sponsored an amendment in the county's budget that would offer a $50,000 reward to help Seattle Police crack the case-- and to send a message to the then-unknown suspect. 

"If you do this kind of thing, we are going to track you down. We are going to chase you down. we are going to hold you accountable," Dembowski said. 

Dorie Colmant, Michael's wife, told The Spotlight's David Rose that she was extremely grateful for the added incentive.  

The increased reward worked. Though detectives had figured out who owned the car, they couldn’t find it. Then, a tipster contacted Crime Stoppers and police with first-hand knowledge of the crime.

About 11 months after Colmant died, the vehicle involved was found in Tacoma. Detectives said it had damage consistent with the crash and some of the parts were stripped.  

Over a year and a half later after the deadly crash, detectives arrested Hamilton. 

According to court documents: "Defendant-Hamilton was emotional and admitted he had killed the bicyclist as they watched an evening news story about the crash. He was obviously impaired from alcohol and admitted that he had been drinking at a local park before the crash. He said that he had driven the car to his uncle's house and tried to cover the car with a blanket, but they needed the tarp." 

Hamilton is facing felony hit-and-run and vehicular homicide charges

Another suspect was arrested for allegedly helping Hamilton cover up the crime.

Seattle Police and Dembowski say the suspect may have never been charged with the crime if not for the help of the tipster. The council member says the tipster will remain anonymous to get the reward. 

"It doesn’t bring Michael back, unfortunately, but maybe some measure of justice can be done. And I think offering a significant reward like this sends a message that governments, we are going to take these crimes seriously," Dembowski said.