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3 dead in Washington accident; driver faces criminal charges

A 17-year-old may be tried as an adult after facing charges pertaining to a fatal crash that killed his three passengers on Jan. 10, according to local sources. A Washington community is in mourning following the car accident that killed two girls and a boy all under the age of 19. The driver faces three criminal charges of vehicular homicide. 

The local sheriff's office reports that the four individuals had left a party in a sedan when the driver came upon a curve in the road. The curve was described as gradual, but apparently the driver lost control of the vehicle, causing it to partially enter a ditch before striking an earthen driveway entrance. The car was thrown into the air, striking a tree and spinning before coming down again on its roof.

It is unclear from preliminary accident reconstruction whether any of the passengers were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. Two of the three passengers were ejected from the vehicle, and all three were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver was wearing a seat belt and managed to survive the crash, but he was arrested shortly after being released from the hospital and was booked into a juvenile detention center. The investigation, including a toxicology sample taken from the driver, is still underway.

Should it become clear that the driver was negligent in a way that directly contributed to the fatal crash, he will face his criminal charges in court -- whether that court is an adult court or not remains to be seen. In the interim, the families of the deceased passengers will be entitled under Washington state law to file wrongful death suits against the driver, his legal guardians and anyone with ownership interest in the vehicle involved. Any evidence indicating fault on the driver's part can be used to support these civil suits. 

Source: bremertonpatriot.com, "CK community mourns teens lost in fatal car crash", Chris Tucker, Jan. 19, 2015

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