High school students in northwest Washington grieved two classmates who were killed when an SUV jumped a curb and plowed into a group of teens on a walk during gym class.
About 30 students from Windward High School in Ferndale, about 13 miles south of the Canadian border, were walking with a teacher Wednesday afternoon when the vehicle struck four teens on a sidewalk, Washington State Patrol Trooper Mark Francis said.
Shane Ormiston, 18, and Gabriel Anderson, 15, both of Ferndale, died at the scene, and two other teens were seriously injured, authorities said.
The driver, William Klein, 34, of Bellingham, was arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault, Francis said. The man had his 3-year-old son with him, but neither was injured.
The driver initially said he fell asleep at the wheel but later told a drug recognition expert that he had used drugs, Francis said.
“The expert also observed signs of impairment,” said the trooper, who would not discuss what drug or drugs were mentioned.
Dozens gathered at the school Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil to honor their classmates.
Some students were walking behind the teens who were struck and watched the crash happen, Francis said.
“Just heard just the worst yell — just, ‘No! No! No!'” Shelley Hardt, who was working nearby, told Seattle news station KOMO-TV. “You knew that something really, really bad had happened. So I ran outside as fast as I could.”
Lynnette Delamare and her husband live nearby and had watched the teens walk by. Then they heard three or four loud crashes from the street.
“We went running out, and there was just bodies everywhere, so we didn’t know which one to go to,” she told Seattle news station KING-TV. “Finally more people started coming, and we got blankets, and we knew right away …. two of them were not moving.”
Two 17-year-olds — Michael Brewster of Custer and Kole Randall of Ferndale — were injured. Both suffered severe leg fractures, the Bellingham Herald newspaper reported.
Brewster was transferred to a Seattle hospital, where a nursing supervisor said he was in satisfactory condition late Wednesday. The other boy was reported in serious condition at a hospital in Bellingham.
“There are simply no words to soothe the pain of this loss,” Ferndale Mayor Gary Jensen said in a statement. “Ferndale is hurting and we mourn together, as a community.”
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