Abbotsford family pleads for answers after Seattle hit-and-run kills Canadian Ironman athlete
VANCOUVER -- An Abbotsford family is pleading for a hit-and-run driver to come forward after a deadly crash in Seattle that claimed the life of a husband and father who was training for an Ironman race.
Michael Colmant was riding his bike near Seattle’s Seward Park on April 11 when he was struck by a driver that did not stay at the scene. The 63-year-old, who has participated in dozens of Ironman races, did not survive.
"I don’t think anger is a strong enough word to describe how we feel about what they did," Colmant’s daughter Sydney told CTV News about the driver leaving the scene.
"I think what happened was extremely cowardly and reckless. Nevertheless, we hope someone out there knows something and comes forward to police," the nursing student added during an interview at the family’s home in Abbotsford Wednesday.
Seattle police are handling the investigation. It’s believed the driver was in an older model sedan that would have been left with a shattered windshield.
Michael Colmant’s family lives in Abbotsford, where he also used to live and work at the city’s airport. But for the past 22 years the Canadian had been living in Washington State, where he worked at Boeing Field.
But despite the distance, Colmant would head north every second week to visit his family in Abbotsford, a situation the family says was difficult — but one they grew used to. Through the pandemic the family had been visiting from across the border at Peace Arch Park or on 0 Avenue.
"He was so giving, so caring, and so passionate," Dorie Colmant said when asked about her husband, noting his love of triathlons.
"When he wasn’t working or at home with us he was always swimming, biking, or running," she added.
The pandemic added a difficult layer after the family was notified of Colmant’s death. Travel restrictions meant they needed special permission to cross in to the United States.
"We had to somehow prove who we were and who my dad was, and that he was the one who was the victim in the accident. That was an unimaginable stress," Sydney Colmant said.
The family says a U.S. border guard at Sumas eventually guided them through the process successfully, allowing them to cross south.
They have now returned to Canada with Colmant’s remains. They will spend the next two weeks isolating at home in Abbotsford unable to grieve in person with other loved ones.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family.
They say they plan to eventually scatter Colmant’s ashes in Hawaii when the pandemic is over. It’s a spot the family loved, and where Colmant had taken part in ten Ironman World Championship races.
The family is also working with an agency called Seattle Neighbourhood Greenways in hopes a bike lane may be installed near the crash site.
"We want him to be remembered for the way that he lived. And the way that he loved. Not for his tragic death," Sydney Colmant said.