YACOLT, WA (KPTV) - A 17-year-old driver on his way to school died in a crash on an icy road in Yacolt on Monday morning, prompting Clark County deputies to offer a warning about winter driving safety.
The boy, who has not been identified, was a student at Battle Ground High School.
“It’s really a tragic reminder of just how quickly weather-related events can contribute to a disastrous kind of crash when we’re driving,” said Clark County Sheriff’s Sgt. Alex Schoening. “Our hearts and prayers go out to this family.”
Emergency crews responded to the 34900 block of Northeast Kelly Road at 9:02 a.m.
A pickup hit a tree and was upside down. The boy was the only person in the truck and was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators said he was not wearing a seat belt.
A witness told investigators the pickup was “fishtailing” on icy roads before the crash.
“North of Brush Prairie, a lot of those roads stayed wet,” Schoening said. “We had fairly heavy fog last night, so there’s a lot of moisture still in the air and the temperature dropped, and those roads became a sheet of ice.”
With more freezing temperatures expected, the sheriff’s office wants to remind drivers that winter driving can be especially dangerous.
“We just ask that drivers be extra cautious, give themselves a lot more time, a lot more room, a lot more gradual slowing when braking,” Schoening said. “Where you think you’re on a wet roadway – all of a sudden, you’re sliding sideways – it can happen very, very quickly – and it’s all about preparation.”
Schoening also recommends that parents keep in close contact their teen drivers.
“Have your kids check in when they get to school, “he said. “Have your kids text you when they get to school just to make sure they haven’t run off the road or are in need of some kind of assistance.”
Battle Ground Public Schools released a statement Monday.
“As you can imagine, we are deeply saddened that one of our Battle Ground High School students passed away after a tragic car accident that happened today, Monday, December 3. This is a very difficult time for our community, and our thoughts and sympathies are with the student's family and friends. At this time, we are respecting the family's wishes that the student's identity not be revealed to students and staff until the family has had the opportunity to privately notify their close family and friends.
Additional counselors and support services from the district's SMART Team are available at Battle Ground High School for students and staff who want to talk with a counselor. Clark County Safe Schools' SMART Team (School Mobilization Assistance Response Team) began in 2001 and provides emotional first aid and practical support in Clark County schools during/after a crisis or emergency situation.”
FOX 12 also reached out to the Clark County Public Works Department.
A spokesman declined to say whether the road the teen died on had recently been sprayed with deicer, citing the ongoing investigation.
The spokesman did say that several roads were treated in various areas of the county Monday morning.
Road crews will be out again Tuesday morning to put down more treatments.
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