On Friday October 23, 1998, at 2 p.m., Border Patrol Agent Walter "Scott" Panchison was flying a U.S. Border Patrol plane in response to motion sensors tripped along the United States-Canadian Border near Lynden, Washington. Agent Panchison was working with other agents in the area and was heading back to Bellingham International Airport when his plane crashed on rugged terrain in the Smith Peak area just north of Mount Baker Highway on the west side of Sumas Mountain. Agent Panchison lost his life in the crash.
Agent Panchison was born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, but grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Utah and a master's degree from Pepperdine University. After graduation, Agent Panchison joined the U.S. Marine Corps, where he spent 10 years flying F-4 Phantoms, including flights from aircraft carriers in the Vietnam War. He left the Corps to join the U.S. Border Patrol, where he proudly served for 21 years. At the time of his death, he was stationed at the Blaine Sector. He was a graduate of the 119th session of the U.S. Border Patrol Academy in Glynco, Georgia.