SEATTLE — Two Snohomish High School students were killed in a crash with a wrong-way driver on the West Seattle bridge early Wednesday.
Riley Danard and Khalea Thoeuk, one a student and one a former student, were out celebrating a birthday when they were killed. They were both 18-years-old.
“She was wise beyond her years”— Lauren Donovan (@LaurenKIRO7) March 23, 2023
💔 Loved ones identified, Khalea Thoeuk as one of the two teens killed by the wrong way driver on the West Seattle bridge. I’m told Khalea and her friend, Riley were out that night celebrating his 18th bday when the crash happened. @KIRO7Seattle pic.twitter.com/G2684nUZeV
KIRO 7′s Lauren Donovan spoke to Thoeuk’s loved ones, who say her promising future was cut short. She was on the high school honor roll and planned to attend Western Washington University after graduation.
Melody Ward is a longtime friend of the Thoeuk family and described Khalea as wise beyond her years.
“She was thoughtful and compassionate, a talented writer, and an avid reader,” said Ward. “There is no way to prepare yourself for the loss of a child - for a parent to bury their child.”
Seattle police said they received multiple calls about a white pickup driving the wrong way in the westbound lanes of the West Seattle Bridge. Before police arrived, witnesses said the truck struck a car.
We’ve just received confirmation from SPD that THIS IS THE SAME white truck that hit and killed Riley Danard and Khalea Thoeuk on the West Seattle bridge. @KIRO7Seattle https://t.co/JnenK8QQGB— Lauren Donovan (@LaurenKIRO7) March 23, 2023
Seattle police arrived at about 12:20 a.m. and found a mangled sedan and the pickup in a westbound lane on the bridge.
Medics from the Seattle Fire Department arrived and pronounced both victims in the sedan, a teenage boy and girl, dead.
“It is with extreme sadness that I write to tell you that we have learned that two students from our Panther community have passed away after being involved in a tragic car accident early this morning,” said Snohomish High School principal Nate DuChesne. “Out of respect, student names have not been released and we are asking our Panther community to please respect these families’ privacy.”
The man who was driving the pickup was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
Police said he showed signs that he was impaired. He is under investigation for vehicular homicide.
Several people said they saw the driver of the pickup earlier that night before he crashed into the students’ car.
Video shows what appears to be the same white pickup truck ramming into a car parked off 35th Avenue Southwest and then taking off headed the wrong way down the street.
“(Wednesday) morning, after I got the video from my neighbors, I looked at it and I’m like, ‘It’s got to be the same truck. The tailgate’s the same,” said Naomi Rivera, whose SUV was damaged. “I ran outside and the truck was already headed down the road.”
Lexi Fittro said she believes she saw the white pickup, too, as she was heading home just after midnight.
“My Uber driver actually pulled over and that’s when we noticed the white pickup truck ram into a sign and then proceeded to drive away really, really quickly and uncontrolled,” said Fittro.
She called 911.
“Talking to the police dispatcher, we were on the phone for about 7 minutes. She had told me that other calls (about the pickup) were coming in,” said Fittro.
Seattle Police believe the driver of the pickup who damaged the SUV on 35th Avenue Southwest is the same driver who hit and killed the teens.
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