SUV Plows Into Students In P.E., Killing Two — Driver Was High Or Sleepy, Had Son, 3, With Him
Two teens were killed when an SUV, driven by a man who may or may not have been high at the time, drove onto the curb and plowed into a group of 30 students during a gym class Wednesday.
Those students are Shane Ormiston, 18, and Gabriel Anderson, 15, and they were pronounced dead at the scene — a stretch of road two blocks from Windward High School in Washington, KOMO reported. Two other students, Kole Randall and Michael Brewster, both 17, were badly injured. Both had broken legs, and Randall suffered a concussion.
Witnesses described a horrific scene to news stations — horrified yells, crumpled bodies on the sidewalk, the sound of the car as it plowed through bodies. One of the students in the same PE class, Zac Holmstern, told King5 that in the chaos afterward, he did his best to console Randall, who had “lots of blood rushing down his face.”
“I told him he was going to be OK. I told him that … I don’t think I probably should have told him what was actually happening because I don’t think he had a clue why he was hurt because (the SUV) just came in from behind so fast.”
Shelley Hardt was working nearby when she heard the “worst yell– just, ‘No! No! No!'” The teacher with the group when the vehicle plowed into his class was absolutely distraught.
“He was very, very upset and crying and walking around. I don’t think he knew what to do. I don’t think anybody knew what to do.”
Grief counselors and therapy dogs are at the school this week as young people mourn their classmates, KIRO reported. The other two are in serious but stable condition and remain in the hospital.
One witness said the driver of the SUV didn’t appear to be paying attention, jumped the curb, and plowed into the students on the sidewalk from behind. Afterward, he got out of his truck.
Windward High School adding to a memorial for their classmates. Tough day for those kids. #ferndale pic.twitter.com/NDGwzhrFKK
— Rebecca Perry (@Rebecca_Perry) June 11, 2015
Here with the heartbroken community of #Ferndale and Windward High School. Let's pray together. http://t.co/lAHxn7usL1
— F r e d (@fredhartsook) June 11, 2015
34-year-old William Klein, suspect in deadly Ferndale crash, ordered held on $250K bail. #Q13FOX pic.twitter.com/YTdUodre8N
— Brandi Kruse (@BrandiKruse) June 11, 2015
That driver is William Klein, 34, who allegedly admitted to smoking weed and using hallucinogenic mushrooms in the past, but not on the day of the crash, his lawyer said, the Associated Press reported. Prosecutors are also unsure if Klein was impaired when he allegedly plowed into the class.
Another possibility is fatigue. Washington state troopers said the SUV driver admitted to them that he fell asleep behind the wheel but then told a detective he’d used drugs. A blood and urine test will ultimately settle the matter. He’s been charged with vehicular homicide and vehicular assault.
In a disturbing twist, police said that William’s 3-year-old son was in the SUV with him when he plowed into the teens but was unharmed. King5 added that he lives in a rural home in Whatcom County, where he raises chickens and works at Trader Joe’s. Co-workers had nothing but nice words to say about him. And his wife, Sarah Bowman, was shocked by the incident.
“He’s a wonderful father. He cares so much for life. This was a horrible mistake.”
Meanwhile, as the community around these high school students mourns, few hold much sympathy for the SUV driver.
“He needs to get life [in prison] for this, period,” witness Leah Chilcote said. “Two children are no longer here, two children are injured, there’s many families in the community affected by this, breaks my heart.”
[Photo Courtesy Twitter]