GRANITE FALLS, Wash. - Three people were killed when their car left the road, struck a tree and landed in a ditch one night last week.
The crash happened Thursday night on the Mountain Loop Highway near Granite Falls in rural Snohomish County, but wasn’t discovered until Friday morning.
Mountain Loop Highway is known to be dangerous. The Washington State Department of Transportation said since March 2013, there have been 39 wrecks on the 20-mile stretch of road leading out of Granite Falls.
There is not much of a shoulder and there are sharp curves, so when the car careened off the road, it landed deep in the forest.
On Monday, the identities of the three killed were released by Snohomish County medical examiner officials.
The victims were identified as 26-year-old Mikayla M. Mikesell of Marysville, Wash., 27-year-old Dawna P. Simmons of Granite Falls and 31-year-old Jonathan A. Simmons of Granite Falls.
Snohomish County sheriff’s Lt. Rodney Rochon held the mother of one of the women killed after he gave her the terrible news at the scene of the crash.
“I’ve had other fatalities, and yes, you have damage, but this one the car is considerably smaller than what its original configuration was,” Rochon said.
Rochon said the car was so hidden, it wasn’t discovered until Friday morning when a father was walking his son to school.
It was so crushed, it required shutting down Mountain Loop Highway and using the Jaws of Life to extract the victims.
“Basically, the roof of the car is collapsed to the transmission housing in some places,” Rochon said.
During the road closure, Jerome Kummerfeldt, who lives on the other side of the crash and was waiting for it to clear, said sadly, he is used to this.
“Well shucks, all of our guardrails going up the loop here. Boy, this year they’ve replaced quite a few of them, cars hitting them, couple others over the ditch up there,” he said.
Kummerfeldt says years ago, his neighbor’s husband was killed in a one-car crash that was camouflaged by the woods as well.
“Just went off the road, and they didn’t find him until the next day,” he said.
Rochon is convinced, though, that a quicker response wouldn’t have mattered in this case.
"Solely based on the observation, it was a non-survivable crash,” Rochon said.
He hopes at least that can bring some comfort where comfort is desperately needed.
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