LYNNWOOD — A fatal mix of marijuana, speeding and inexperience likely factored into a crash that killed three Jackson High School students in July on Alderwood Mall Parkway, according to a report released Friday by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
However, what exactly caused a teen driver to drift off the road around 4 a.m. July 26 might never be known.
Four teenagers were in the Kia Sorento that crashed into a parked semi truck trailer in the 16900 block of the parkway. Killed were Mikayla Sorenson, 15, of Bothell; Travin Nelson-Phongphiou, 16, of Everett; and Landon Staley, 16, of Everett. One girl, 15, survived with serious injuries.
The new report says the driver was under the influence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. A blood sample tested positive for the drug at 6.8 ng/mL. The legal limit for adults is 5 ng/mL, and it’s illegal for those younger than 21 to drive with any level of THC in the body.
The sheriff’s office said the driver had an intermediate license and only had started driving within the previous six months. He was not allowed to have passengers.
A spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, Shari Ireton, declined to confirm which boy was driving, because they were minors.
The semi truck was parked in a legal zone along the side of the road, but was facing the wrong way, according to the sheriff’s office. The car crashed at an estimated speed of 56 mph, according to the report released Friday. The Kia went under the trailer, and first responders had to lift it to reach the victims.
“Since the trailer was parked facing the wrong direction there was nothing to mitigate or prevent the driver’s vehicle from under-riding the trailer,” the detective’s report states. “Given the estimated speed of the driver’s vehicle it is unknown whether or not the rear bumper would have been able to withstand the impact to prevent an under-ride of the semi-trailer.”
The semi’s driver was cited for a parking infraction.
Family remembered Mikayla Sorenson as “a kind soul, loved by her family and friends and full of life.” At the teens’ school, flowers, teddy bears and notes in chalk were left behind, as students, staff and others mourned the loss.
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.
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