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Two teenage girls killed in one-car crash
An investigation continues into a single-vehicle crash that claimed the lives of two teenage girls Monday on Baby Doll Road.
On Tuesday, the roadway was closed again for approximately six hours, until about 4 p.m., as traffic investigators conducted follow-up work during daylight hours, according to Deputy Scott Wilson, spokesman for the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.
The two girls were killed and another was injured in the crash
The Kitsap County Coroner’s Officer identified the victims Tuesday as Rebekah F. Barrett, 18, and Shanaia R. Bennett, 17. Barrett, who lived in South Kitsap, was a former student in the South Kitsap School District and was attending Crosspoint Academy in Chico. Bennett, of Gig Harbor, was a student at Henderson Bay High School in the Peninsula School District.
A third girl injured in the crash, Michelle Gregory, 17, was transported to Tacoma General Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Marcia Edwards-Olson, the hospital’s media communications director, said Tuesday that Gregory, a student at Discovery Alternative High School, had been released from the hospital.
Counselors were called to South Kitsap and Discovery high schools Tuesday to help students deal with the tragic event.
South Kitsap School District Superintendent Michelle Reid said Tuesday that counselors were available, as well as teachers and other staff, to serve as resources for students, staff and families as they have the need to talk or express difficult feelings.
According to her Facebook page, Barrett was working at a local Subway store. News about Barrett’s death surfaced and messages started appearing on her Facebook page.
A temporary memorial — filled with flowers, candles and balloons — sits under several trees in front of a residence near the intersection of Baby Doll Road and LaSalle Street to mark the site where the crash happened.
Cause of the crash
The accident was reported about 9:39 p.m. in the 1100 block of Baby Doll Road SE at the intersection with East LaSalle Street in South Kitsap. All three girls were in a 1994 Toyota Camry driven by Barrett.
Wilson said witnesses reported that the Camry appeared to have been racing with a 1997 Toyota pick-up truck, driven by 20-year-old Robert A. Rundquist Jr., prior to the collision.
“The truck was actually ahead of the SUV that the Camry had to brake for prior to collision,” Wilson said. “The truck stopped immediately and its driver returned to the collision scene to try and help the Camry’s occupants.”
He said that witnesses reported the two vehicles passed each other multiple times at high speeds while heading northbound on Baby Doll Road.
Witnesses reported they saw the two vehicles traveling side by side at speeds well in excess of the posted 35 mph speed limit.
Wilson said the Camry’s driver applied its brakes as it approached an SUV that also was traveling northbound ahead of her. The Camry began to skid and the driver lost control of the car.
He said the car left the roadway and struck a large tree before landing in a drainage ditch. The truck stopped and its driver returned to the collision scene to try and help the Camry’s occupants.
He said Barrett and Bennett suffered massive injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene by South Kitsap Fire and Rescue medics.
Gregory, who was seated in the rear, was extricated from the car and transported to the hospital.
South Kitsap Fire and Rescue crews arrived within six minutes of the crash being reported and began administering medical aid, reported Battalion Chief Ron Powers.
Wilson said the road was closed for approximately six hours, immediately following the crash until about 3:30 a.m., while sheriff’s traffic unit deputies started their investigation.
“Although the investigation is not yet completed, crash scene evidence and witness statements indicate that the Toyota Camry was traveling northbound on Baby Doll Road SE, approaching the intersection with LaSalle Street, at a very high rate of speed,” Wilson said. “Excessive vehicle speeds certainly played a role. Alcohol or drugs do not appear to be factors in this collision.”
Persons who may have information about this crash are asked to contact Deputy Michael Shannon, sheriff’s traffic unit, at 360-337-4634.
Letter from South Kitsap School District
Dear South Kitsap Families:
I want to share with you information about a recent event that has affected the entire school community. I’m sending you this letter to give you some information and to assure you that we are doing everything we can to get through this difficult event, especially at this time of the year, and to suggest ways you may help your own children.
On Monday evening, one of our former students, Rebekah Barrett was involved in an automobile accident on Baby Doll Road. She was pronounced dead at the scene along with another young adult, Shania Bennett, a student at Henderson Bay. Discovery student Michelle Gregory was injured and subsequently transported to Tacoma General Hospital. Early reports indicate another vehicle was involved in some fashion and the driver has been arrested on two counts of vehicular homicide.
We are all shocked and saddened by the event. Counselors are available as well as teachers and other staff to serve as resources for our students, staff and families as they have the need to talk or express difficult feelings. If you need assistance, please contact us at 360-874-7000 or email email@example.com.
You can help your child(ren) by listening to them and validating their feelings. You can use statements such as “I’m sure other classmates/students are feeling the same way” or “It isn’t unusual for teenagers to wonder about that.” It is important to acknowledge to students that it is frustrating when we don’t have all the facts or are struggling to understand why a tragic event happened. Please reinforce respect for the deceased students’ families need to grieve and cope.
We encourage you to be sensitive with your child and to call us if we can help in any way. I know you will join me in keeping the families of these young people in our thoughts and prayers.
Michelle Reid, Ed.D. | Superintendent