MILL CREEK — Messages written in chalk filled the sidewalk Thursday in front of Jackson High School.
One, a drawing in blue of Mickey Mouse, said, “In Loving Memory, MiKayla ‘Mickey’ S” and was signed simply, “Dad.”
Another was framed with blue, yellow, pink and violet chalk. It read: “To Kayla, Our Friend. You deserve better.”
Officials have identified Mikayla Sorenson, 15, of Bothell, as one of three Jackson students who died Wednesday in a crash along Alderwood Mall Parkway.
Also killed were Landon Staley and Travin Nelson-Phongphiou. Both were 16 and from Everett. All three died from blunt force injuries, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.
A 15-year-old girl survived the 4 a.m. crash and was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The girl, a Cascade High School student, was listed Thursday in stable condition.
The four young people were riding in a Kia Sorento that slammed into a parked semi-tractor trailer near Fred Meyer. It could take weeks before a preliminary cause of the crash is known, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. Police have not made public who was driving.
School district and Compass Health counselors were on campus Thursday for students, parents and staff. Pastors from nearby churches also stopped by to offer support.
Students were encouraged to write notes in chalk. They were joined by Lauren Crossley, 14, a sophomore at Oak Harbor High School. She attended Heatherwood Middle School with Sorenson.
Having other people around helped Crossley cope with the shock of losing her friend, she said.
“A lot of people loved her,” she said. “It’s devastating.”
Mariela McNeal, 15, an incoming Jackson sophomore, said Sorenson was her first friend at Heatherwood Middle. “It’s hard to know she’s gone,” McNeal said.
McNeal designed a poster for her friend that included a butterfly, “because all beauty comes from change,” she said.
Nearby, people had left teddy bears and flowers.
The school will send a list of available resources to students and staff. Help and support will continue when school reopens in the fall, Jackson Principal Dave Peters said.
Everyone is shocked and saddened, including teachers, he said.
Gold Creek Community Church also is opening up its student center for young people who want a place to gather.
Neighbors say that semi-truck parking has been a problem along that stretch of the parkway. The parking is legal, according to the sheriff’s office. However, the tractor-trailer that was struck was facing the wrong way, which would be an infraction.
Wednesday’s crash might be the most deadly in the county since March 2016. Three people were killed when a Toyota Tercel went into the woods off the Mountain Loop Highway. That crash was attributed to speeding, alcohol and illegal drugs.
In August 2015, a Dodge Ram carrying four young people was driven over a concrete barrier and into a pond on the Tulalip Indian Reservation, killing them. Alcohol was ruled a factor.
In July 2016, five teenagers were in a BMW that crashed into a tree along Olympic View Drive in Edmonds. Two of them, including the driver, were killed and others were injured. Speed was determined to be the primary cause.
How to talk to children and teens about death
- Allow 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 guidance.
- Affirm that they can express feelings honestly. Don’t dismiss or discourage them.
- Encourage them to write notes and letters.
- Tell your child they are safe and loved.
- Watch for signs of trouble such as aggression and withdrawal.
- Try to keep a normal routine.