Three Bainbridge High School students died in a single-vehicle rollover Tuesday night in the 11000 block of Sunrise Drive, according to the Bainbridge Island Police Department.
BIPD and the Bainbridge Island Fire Department responded just before 9 p.m. According to a news release, the vehicle had been traveling south, then left the roadway and struck several trees before rolling over.
Three girls died at the scene. They have been identified by the Kitsap County Coroner’s Office as Bainbridge Island residents Hannah Wachsman, 16; Marina Miller, 14; and Hazel Kleiner, 14.
According to an email sent from the Bainbridge Island School District to families Wednesday, all three were students at Bainbridge High School. The three students were also teammates on the junior varsity volleyball team, according to the team roster. The district immobilized a Crisis Support Team, and counselors will be in the school library for students in need of emotional support.
Later Wednesday, Bang-Knudsen held a news conference and said all three girls grew up on Bainbridge Island and attended school locally through high school. He also confirmed that they were in 9th and 10th grade. A vigil was held Wednesday night at Waterfront Park to honor the three students.
“They were teammates, they were classmates, they were friends to so many people,” Bang-Knudsen said. “This is going to have a deep impact on our community. Bainbridge Island is a tight-knit community. We know each other; there’s a deep connectivity. We’re really going to grapple with this loss.”
The day after the accident, the superintendent said students dealt with the tragedy in different ways.
“There were tears happening,” he said. “They were able to just talk through that. They were making posters and just finding ways to remember their friends.”
As father himself, Bang-Knudsen said the tragedy had a profound effect on him.
“It certainly connects with me on a very personal level,” he said. “The scope and scale of three young lives being lost in that moment is very difficult to comprehend.”
The cause and manner of the deaths will be revealed later this week after press time pending autopsies. Initial investigation indicates that speed was most likely a factor. The accident remains under investigation with assistance from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office Accident Reconstruction Team.
This story originally appeared in the Bainbridge Island Review, a sister publication to The Herald.