The wreckage of a vehicle that struck a parked semi trailer on Alderwood Mall Parkway on July 26, 2017 in Lynnwood, Washington. Three teenagers were killed and one survived. (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)

The wreckage of a vehicle that struck a parked semi trailer on Alderwood Mall Parkway on July 26, 2017 in Lynnwood, Washington. Three teenagers were killed and one survived. (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)

County pays $500K to settle with lone survivor of fatal car crash

Four teenagers in a Kia Sorento crashed into a parked semi truck on Alderwood Mall Parkway in 2017. Only one survived.

EVERETT — The lone survivor of a fatal car crash that killed three teenagers will receive a $500,000 settlement from Snohomish County.

A lawsuit filed in July 2020 in King County Superior Court alleged the actions of six trucking companies led to the deadly accident on Alderwood Mall Parkway. It also listed the county as a defendant for not ensuring the safety of drivers on that road.

As part of the settlement, completed in February, Snohomish County did not admit to any liability relating to the crash.

In July 2017, Landon Staley, who was 16, drove a Kia Sorento at an estimated 56 mph in the 16900 block of Alderwood Mall Parkway and slammed into a trailer that was illegally parked on the side of the road, according to the police report. The posted speed limit in that area is 40 mph. The car went underneath the trailer, killing Staley and two other passengers — Mikayla Sorenson, 15, of Bothell, and Travin Nelson-Phongphiou, 16, of Everett.

The force of the impact sheared off the top of the Kia, according to court papers. Kiley O’Laughlin, then 15, was the only survivor. She was in the back seat of the car and witnessed her friends suffer “graphic” injuries before dying, the complaint said.

She was immediately transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with life-threatening injuries to her head, face and torso.

Her physical recovery took over a year of treatment and $100,000 in medical debt, according to the lawsuit.

The defendants in the lawsuit were Wabash National Corp., the manufacturer of the trailer; Trillium Management Inc. and its subsidiary McKinney Vehicle Services Inc., which owned the trailer; Key Trucking Inc., which hired the driver who parked the trailer; SP Trucking, the driver’s personal business; and Spirit Transport Systems Inc., which owned an unrelated truck parked nearby that contributed to the force of the impact, the complaint said.

The complaint filed by O’Laughlin’s lawyers suggested the defendants “should have known” parking a trailer on the side of a highway, pointed toward oncoming traffic and without reflective tape was dangerous to drivers, the lawsuit said.

The semi’s driver placed visibility tape on the back of the vehicle but not the front — the side that faced oncoming cars, the complaint said.

The driver, the Staley estate, and Snohomish County were also listed as defendants.

O’Laughlin settled privately with all of the other parties, said her attorney, Chris Davis of the Davis Law Group in Seattle.

Before the crash, county employees received complaints and emails from citizens about trailers illegally parked around the area, according to court documents. The complaint also claimed county employees repeatedly drove past the semi-trailer before the crash, and didn’t do anything to remove it.

Davis said his client is “very happy” with the case finally being resolved, Davis said.

Jonathan Tall: 425-339-3486;; Twitter: @EDHJonTall.

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