High school victims in semi-trailer fatal crash identified
The Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office has identified the three people who were killed Wednesday when their SUV collided with a parked semi-truck trailer on Alderwood Mall Parkway near Lynnwood.
The medical examiner says Landon Staley, 16, of Everett, Travin Nelson-Phongphiou, 16, of Everett, and Mikayla Sorenson, 15, of Bothell died from multiple blunt force injuries. Their deaths have been ruled accidental.
School officials confirmed the three were students at Henry M. Jackson High School in Mill Creek.
A fourth person injured in the crash, identified as Kiley O'Laughlin, 15, was a student at Cascade High School. She was transported to Harborview Medical Center, where she was listed in serious condition.
"We are all incredibly shocked and saddened by this event. Our Crisis Response Team met this morning to plan how to help our students and school families with this loss. Since it’s summer break it makes it challenging to reach out, but we want to make sure you had resources to help cope with this sad news," Dave Peters, principal at Henry M. Jackson said in a released statement.
Grief counselors were at Jackson High on Thursday.
Early Wednesday around 4 a.m., a Kia Sorrento crashed into a parked semi-trailer on Alderwood Mall Parkway, killing the three of the four people inside the car.
According to police, the parked semi-trailer was parked illegally.
Shari Ireton, a spokesperson for the Snohomish County Sheriff's Department, initially said the semi-trailer was parked legally alongside Alderwood Mall Parkway near 164th. The area where the crash occurred is a stretch of road where drivers regularly park their trucks and tractor-trailers and either leave them unattended or sleep in them. However, she later said "the trailer was not parked in the correct direction, as the front of the trailer was facing the direction by oncoming traffic. This is a civil parking infraction."
The Kia Sorrento was barely recognizable after the impact. It was almost completely wedged beneath the trailer, which was not hitched to a truck. The fact that the trailer was facing the wrong direction may have contributed to the severity of the victims' injuries.
Truck trailers are now designed to avoid the kind of carnage witnessed Wednesday morning. They are built with steel gates or bumpers on their back sides to block a car from sliding underneath.
In this case, the trailer was facing backwards on the road. When the SUV hit it, there was no barrier to lessen the impact.
Police say speed may have been a factor. There is no word yet as to whether drugs or alcohol played a role.
Read full letter by Henry M. Jackson High School principal:
Dear Jackson High families,
This morning we learned three of our Jackson High students were involved in a fatal car accident. A Cascade High School student was also in the accident and is in stable condition in the hospital.
We are all incredibly shocked and saddened by this event. Our Crisis Response Team met this morning to plan how to help our students and school families with this loss. Since it’s summer break it makes it challenging to reach out, but we want to make sure you had resources to help cope with this sad news.
Our plan at this time is to provide accurate information, opportunities for extra support if needed, and suggest you keep your routines as normal as possible to help students feel secure. We’ve made available counselors, teachers, and other helping resources so students, staff, and parents can get help if they need it. They will be at Jackson High tomorrow, July 27, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
You can help your child by simply talking and listening to them. We don’t always know how a student will be affected in a crisis, but you know your child the best of anyone. Due to previous similar events or losses, if you feel your child needs to visit with someone, please give us a call. We want to be sensitive to all of our students’ needs.
The following may be helpful as you talk with your child:
Allow for your child to talk about feelings. If this is the first loss your child has experienced, your child may not know how to respond and will be looking for your guidance.
Affirm all expressions. It’s okay to express feelings honestly. Tolerate the expressions rather than dismissing them or discouraging the expression of feelings.
Encourage written expressions such notes, letters, pictures to the family etc.
Reaffirm that your child is safe and that your child is loved.
Affirm that your child’s reaction is normal and you understand the way your child feels.
Watch for signs of trouble such as aggression, withdrawal, etc.
Help the children return to a routine that is as normal as possible.
Attached are more resources we hope are helpful. Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of these students during this difficult time.
Principal, Jackson High School
KING 5's Liza Javier, Alex Rozier and Jennifer Van Burkleo contributed to this report.