FORKS, Wash. — The community of Forks, Wash., is grappling with the tragic death of three teenagers and two others who were hurt after their vehicle collided with a tree early Saturday morning. Speed and alcohol appear to be the contributing factors, according to authorities.
The crash happened just after 4 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, on mile five of the Sitkum-Solduc Road, according to officials with the Clallam County Sheriff's Office.
Two 18-year-old males, identified Monday by sheriff officials as the driver Jaden Lohrengel, and front seat passenger Tyler Ellis, died at the scene, officials confirmed to KING 5.
Three other teenagers in the vehicle were airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for treatment. A 17-year-old female, who sheriff officials identified to KING 5 as Shaiyann Cummins, died at the hospital.
The two 19-year-olds, a male and female, identified Monday by sheriff officials as Ariel Sandoval, and Gyovanna Morales, remain at Harborview receiving treatment. Sandoval is in serious condition as of Monday, and Morales is in satisfactory condition, according to a hospital spokesperson.
The preliminary investigation revealed the vehicle left the roadway going at least 70 miles an hour and struck a tree. It doesn't appear anyone hit the brakes, and no other vehicles were involved, officials said.
Clallam County Sheriff Sgt. John Hollis said people living nearby heard what they thought was a tree coming down and went to investigate.
"It took about 45 minutes for them to decide to go down there to see if the tree was viable for cutting and discovered the wreck," said Hollis. "Potentially could've been there for about 45 minutes."
Hollis told KING 5 that deputies found open containers of alcohol in the vehicle and that it appears the teens were coming home from a high school football game.
"There was a big out-of-town football game that night. So it was about the right timing to come back and maybe celebrate or do whatever kids do after a big football game that's out of town," said Hollis.
Counselors were on hand at Forks High School Monday as students learned of their classmate's deaths.
Being a small community, Hollis said the entire town is feeling this loss.
"You can't go to the store without someone knowing you. Everybody knows everybody. It's a tough deal," said Hollis.
The paramedics and other first responders are also processing their own anguish from the incident. Code 4 Northwest is an organization specifically for first responders to help them cope with tragedy. Anyone needing help can find contact information on Code 4 Northwest's website here.
The collision remains under investigation by the Clallam County Sheriff's Traffic Investigation Unit.