3 die after car hits pole on Market St.

Updated: Friends gathered in the rain Sunday evening to pay their respects to three young lives lost in a tragic accident. Spenser Millard, 19, and Kellen Jones and Mike Turner, both 20, died when their vehicle smashed into a pole in a restaurant parking lot in Ballard.

“This is horrible,” said Mike, whose son is a friend of one of the victims. “It’s really going to shake this community up because all three boys are from Ballard.” Friends say the three are 2008 graduates of Ballard High School. Millard and Jones played football there and later helped coach the junior squad.

“They were electric,” said JB, who said he coached with them. “They were both great guys. I miss them.” Friends left flowers, photos, notes and a football at the base of the pole where the car collided early this morning. “It’s so sad. They were really good, really good kids,” said Laurie, whose sons knew all three of the victims. “All of the kids seem to stick together. They were a tight-knit group.”

Police say a 1986 Pontiac Firebird with four people inside was speeding westbound on Market when it struck the Taco Time sign just after 4:30 a.m. In addition to the three young men who died, a girl in her mid-teens was transported to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. Police say the girl was sitting in the backseat behind the driver.

The Taco Time sign, despite absorbing the full impact of the crash, was still standing. Police are still trying to determine who was driving and if alcohol was a factor. (Above photo is courtesy of My Ballard reader Kim.)

One woman who lives near the accident scene said this intersection is particularly dangerous, especially for speeders and pedestrians. “This intersection sneaks up on people,” she said. “I hear tires screeching all the time.”

The Traffic Collision Investigation Squad detectives took photos of the accident scene for several hours. The car was driving on a smaller spare tire (see above), but it’s unclear if it contributed to the high-speed accident. The Seattle Times reports that the victims loved muscle cars and planned to take them to the racetrack this summer. (This photo is courtesy of Robert Strauss).

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204 thoughts to “3 die after car hits pole on Market St.”

  1. this intersection is even worse for pedestrians.

    the crosswalk between taco time and the liquor store is a deathtrap—cars NEVER slow down going westbound on Market.

  2. This is another senseless waste of life. I encounter a driver speeding through Ballard every day, and was nearly hit yesterday. We need speeding enforcement in this densely populated area.

  3. Amazing to see the sign is stil upright..! I heard this around 4:45, the engine wind-up and crunch, but never any tire squeal. “Still trying to determine…if alcohol was a factor”..?

    I walked down the hill to look after I saw all the lights and heard the sirens following. I could see the car wrecked, but not from the angle of the picture above. At least no other people or pedestrians were hurt. Wow, what a nice gift those kids gave their families to wake up to on Easter morning.

  4. Ugh… I know this car. Seen it in neighborhood but can't place. Tragedy for all families involved regardless the circumstance. =|

  5. That is one helluva sturdy sign. Reminds me of the Mythbusters trying to split a car in half. The car must have been going pretty fast.

  6. Awful. So sad for them and their families. Camaros and other retro-muscle cars have such high death rates. It is young men + very fast car with attitude + handling not caught up to the power + doesn't crash well = lots of bad outcomes. Add a dash of alcohol and of course it is even worse.

    Don' take this as callous, and they didn't deserve the horrible cost, but driving that fast on residential streets at any time of day is beyond reckless and it is lucky they didn't mow down a mom up early walking a baby or something.

  7. Hmmm… it's the liquor store that I think makes this intersection so bad, but that wasn't the case here. Shame about the accident… glad no innocent bystanders were hurt or killed. Summer traffic is about to start and usually that means a lot of speeders. That car must have been going pretty quick. Plus it was fully loaded so it would have had ~800 Lbs of just passengers.

  8. This intersection is dangerous for “speeders and pedestrians?” The intersection is dangerous for pedestrians (as well as all other users) because of the speeders. I continue to be saddened that, despite tragedies like this, society doesn't take speeding seriously as a danger. As bad as this is (and I don't want to sound dismissive of the loss of life here) it could have been so much worse if the car had struck another car, a pedestrian, or a house.

  9. During our Church service this morning, several people began buzzing about something. Turns out the news about the accident had reached a couple of classmates of those involved. What a terrible tragedy! My prayers go out to the familes.

  10. This is not the first time TT has been hit, its at least the 4th or 5th time I can remember. You got to question the logic of placing a liquer store at one of the most dangerous corners in the city. Funny how the metro buses cause most of the close calls around there by stoping for extended periods of time plus it dosent help when the buses cross the centerline every time they drive that street and 32nd forcing traffic coming in the opposite direction to move to the right. Metro wasnt the cause of this one, but they do cause many wrecks and near misses around the city.

  11. Why can't you follow that? Have you seen how the driveway is positioned in relation to that goofy intersection? You can't see around the cars parked in the street when you leave the liquor store, and also have to notice 3 different directions of traffic at the same time. It sucks.

  12. Lets wait and see what the Blood alcohol level is. Then we can about the gift to the parents. Even if the B.A. is normal this guy sure was not doing the speed limit. I agree with KF so far.

  13. Dan, your argument isn't relevant to this particular accident, not at 4:30 am when the liquor store isn't open. But you do bring up a common problem – who should pay for changes to traffic when a business is too popular? The liquor store went in conforming to all city requirements yet cause unforeseen traffic problems. Who should pay for the changes to make it safe? The city? The business? Something for the forum I guess.

  14. the three young men were BHS graduates from just a few years ago. looks like Name has posted their names already. i personally knew two of them from serving in a volunteer organization, going to camp with them, and one of the guys worked for me.

    about an hour ago, nearly two dozen of their friends gathered around to honor, remember, and pray for the guys who died. it’s sad to see their friends being thrust into celebrating the memory of them so early in their lives.

    whatever the circumstances end-up revealing (speed, alcohol, a bad intersection)… today my deepest sympathies and prayers go out to their families and their friends. i grieve with them

  15. “This intersection is particularly dangerous”

    Sorry but I for one am getting sick and tired of listening to people blame intersections, stretches of road, etc. for the actions of bad drivers. There is nothing inherently dangerous about this intersection. The curve and cross walk are both visible from a few blocks ahead, and there is a sign informing drivers of the curve with a recommended speed reduction to 25MPH. What's dangerous are the drivers who refuse to obey the speed limit and/or pay attention, not the roadways which require them to do so.

  16. Such a tragedy. I feel for their families. Regardless of the cause, this was a tragic accident.

    One of the problems with that corner is that people in the right lane heading westbound suddenly realize that they're in the wrong lane to continue on Market and suddenly veer over. I think a little extra paint, or even a concrete lane separator would make this a much safer stretch of road to drive and would even solve the liquor store driveway issue by making it right-turn only. And yes, that probably wouldn't have prevented this accident, but it might prevent others.

  17. it's confirmed that family members are reading these pages so let's continue to keep it about community support. Very hard days to come for these folks.

  18. it's confirmed that family members are reading these pages so let's continue to keep it about community support. Very hard days to come for these folks.

  19. The facebook page of one of the victim's is a bit disturbing in terms of just foreshadowing. The main photo is his car (not the camaro) shrouded in smoke. Two of his status updates read something like “life is too short live it up” and “why are so many local people dying suddenly?”

  20. I am not saying that it is not sad. I feel for the family and friends of these kids. At the same time, I also see the volume of cars and pedestrian traffic at that intersection day-in/day-out, and I drive out of there in the wee hours of the morning myself to go to work. While it is an unfortunate tragedy, it is a miracle that no other innocent lives or property were taken in this fit of careless/reckless driving. The accident could have so easily been prevented…

  21. I'm thankful these morons are off the road. We are lucky they only killed themselves and no innocent bystanders where injured. Speeding while intoxicated is reckless, selfish and arrogant. Maybe they didn't deserve to die, but don't be surprised when you put your hand into the fire and it gets burned.

  22. These guys were good young men. It is a shame that they are gone so young. Hopefully people will remember this and keep in mind how precious life is.

  23. Good young men don't endanger the lives of innocent neighbors. Good young men don't drive drunk. These people were far from good young men.

  24. They were all drunk. They all got into the car. They were all having a blast endangering the lives of others until they lost the fight with taco time.

  25. It amazes me that people are so quick to forgive such reckless actions when said actions result in their own death. Would you people be so forgiving if these 3 morons killed your daughter who was just crossing the street? Again, we are all lucky that these reckless people are off the street and they only killed themselves.

  26. This is a very sad day for the Ballard Community. Our kids have been growing up together and I am so sorry for the families.

    If you feel like posting negative comments at this time, stop, read it and then delete it. The parents of these young men have speant countless hours volunteering for our kids.

  27. That's just plain foolish. You seem to be full of assumptions, and completely lacking in facts. Do you work for SPD? Do you routinely perform vehicle accident reconstruction investigations? Do you work for the coroner, or have any experience with blood toxicology?

    Why don't you exercise a little intellectual honesty and not jump to conclusions until you actually bother to learn something. And maybe in the process, you can avoid impuning the memories of four people who you don't know anything about. Shmuck.

  28. hey Einstein we can all do the math on what sorts of poor decisions were likely made in this situation. While there is no excuse for poor decision making, real people, with many facets and many people mourning them, are gone.

    So let's turn down the reactionary a few notches and turn up the humanity a few, okay? If you wouldn't say what you are saying here to these kids' parents then tone it down some. If you would you are beyond help (and reproach).

  29. the only shmuck here is the one who believes that 20 year olds driving at a speed that will do that kind of damage at 4:30am did not have any alcohol in their system. Intellectual honesty indeed!

    I'll tell you what I know about these people. they endangered the lives of many innocent people last night. We are all lucky that only the ones to blame are the ones who got hurt. Would you be as forgiving if it was your mother or daughter they killed. Shmuck!

  30. I agree.

    The “perfect drivers” who have NEVER disobeyed the traffic laws, (willfully or unknowingly) should keep your opinions about fault for this accident to yourself. We should turn something tragic into a positive response.

    A barrier or better marked (arterial) “traffic guide” would be a benefit, while increasing safety for both cars & pedestrians. It would reduce the congestion & maintain a safer flow in & out of ALL the local businesses.

    I live within site of the intersection & it could be better marked. I am so busy watching for foot & car traffic as I go through that section, I was unaware of the 25MPH sign until I saw the comment on another posting.

    My prayers go out to the families & friends of the young people who died & struggle to survive, following such a tragic accident.

  31. Maybe not relevant to this particular accident, but nonetheless, that intersection, compounded by the liquor store traffic / location and GG traffic makes it lousy.

  32. This is a sad day for Ballard. As a Ballard grad this really breaks my heart. May they rest in peace. My prayers go out to the families. To the parents: I hope you know how many lives your sons touched. I knew them both from school and they were some of the funnest people to be around; always happy.

  33. I stopped by the scene and there was a lawyer for one or more of the people who was killed. Apparently they will go after Taco Time because the post was built too well and should have broken away (regardless of the state of the driver).

  34. I live 1 block from that taco time. You would have to be driving REALLY FAST to hit that sign and do that much damage. That is not an accident, that is homicide.

  35. FWIW, these were Ballard locals who have no doubt driven that stretch of road dozens of times. Confusion over which lane went where should not have been an issue for them.

    Also, the right lane *does* continue on Market, which continues straight west as a non-arterial street. The arterial road that the left lane puts you on is 54th, which then becomes Seaview.

  36. Everyone speculating about the details of this accident should keep their ideas to themselves until the results of an official SPD investigation are made public. This could take weeks and might even point toward a mechanical failure of the vehicle. A very sad day anytime this happens.

  37. With classy parents like this, it's not hard to see how these kids (the driver, at least) grew up to have absolutely no concept of personal responsibility. Get drunk, speed, crash — do whatever you feel. If anything goes wrong, it's not your fault, someone else must've screwed up.

    Utterly disgusting.

  38. This is very, very sad. My heart goes out to all the families.

    Actually, LarryB, if you're in the right lane and want to continue west on Market, that's exactly where you want to be. Market St doesn't bear to the left (you probably mean 54th). Market stays straight, heading west between the Lock Vista and Lock Haven complexes.

    But regardless of this confusing intersection, it is a tragedy. A traffic light wouldn't have helped in this instance, but it would be very welcome.

  39. these speculations are coming from anyone with an ounce of logic looking at that photo. no WAY anyone driving the speed limit could do such damage to a vehicle. assuming alcohol was involved is, although likely, a little premature. however, its pretty obvious that the driver was not using his best judgment.
    it is sad, but was an avoidable accident. let us all learn to drive safe and drive smart.

  40. jesus… really? it is a sad situation but the only one responsible is the driver. taco time should not have to construct its premises “just in case” a kid driving WAY to fast should crash into their sign.

  41. I fail to see how changing this intersection could have stopped this incident. They hit that pole at very high speed. The intersection was not the cause of this incident. The only thing that could have helped would have been a cop car with his lights on stopping them from trackless driving.

  42. It's a shame 3 young people are dead. Especially since it was due too a series of bad decisions. Hopefully other young people will learn something from the decisions that resulted in death. Nothing good happens when you're 20 years old, driving at a high rate of speed at 4:40am. The kids were local and knew the intersection. They were likely impaired and paid a heavy price. Luckily they didn't take any other innocents with them.

  43. jman! i feel ur pain.. im so happy that i got to do YL with these 3 young men! they will truely be missed!!! my thoughts and prayers go out their friends and families!!!

  44. Wow – you know a lot from just stopping by the scene. A lawyer was present; he's investigating the crash; he's drawing up papers now to sue Taco Time. All that from just stopping by? How do you know the lawyer (if he even was a lawyer) isn't just a family friend of one or more of the people in the car and was there trying to get answers for the family? Assume much?

  45. Bad decisions may have been made, but at the moment the speed isn't relevant. What is important is that there are 3 families and hundreds of friends grieving and in need of support. I'm not targeting you, but i wish everyone would just show a little respect for the families today. I graduated with the guys and this has been a hard day for everyone.

  46. It makes sense to feel bad for the families and friends of theses kids, but he's right. There's a reason you aren't supposed to drive drunk, because stuff like this happens. It's like the two kids on the motorcycle that crashed on Greenwood last summer. The car they hit had a 3 month old girl in it. What if they had killed her. Things like this could be avoided if people used common sense and didn't get into a car when they've had too much to drink. It just makes it very hard to have sympathy in these situations when you know that people are making stupid decisions and risking the lives of others…

  47. Totally, absolutely false, there is no case for fault of the sign, location or type.
    It was built by permit, approved in location and design.

    It wouldn't surprise me for the typical layman(woman) to think otherwise, and for the finger to be pointed anywhere other than the truly responsible party, but to say anything other than a tragic accident occured, and most likely an avoidable one, is beyond irresponsible.

    I hope the families find peace, and that the well wishes of the many today provide some comfort.

  48. Seriously. How desperate can a lawyer get? Does that mean every support beam on the outside of every structure should break away incase kids decide to drink and go joyriding?

  49. Not to mention people that decide it would be better to drive themselves rather than call a cab, take a bus, call a friend or walk. I wanna hear people blame a street when a drunk driver kills a person. I really hope it doesn't come to that…

  50. It may be none of my business, but I feel out of respect for the victim's families the photo of the Firebird wrapped around the pole should be removed. It's graphic and doesn't belong on this blog.

  51. my daughter knew them all. we are so so sorry about this. sure we all know not to drink and drive, but we, too, were 19 and 20 once. that is the age of stupid things and sometimes horrible consequences. it is a most unfortunate tradgedy. but, we should not forget that they were childern.

  52. In response to your comment, Barfly, I am a second generation “ballard native” & have driven that section thousands of times.

    It is a confusing interchange in the best conditions & has become dangerously congested in the worst.

    We do not know all the contributing factors of this ACCIDENT.
    I fail to see how it matters at this point but I am confident it was not intentional, so quite with the blame card.

    The point I am trying to convey is, what can we do to make the interchange safer?!?

    This isn't the first accident at this location.

    Why can't we turn this tragedy into something positive by providing better awareness of the changing arterial?
    –Better signage?
    –A barrier clearly identifying the turning arterial?
    –A “curve ahead” sign with a flashing light?

    It may help prevent another similar tragedy.

    These were good, young men & a great loss for their families & our community!

    Have you no compassion?

  53. The sign has been there so long, hopefully it is covered under a grandfather clause. Taco Time had nothing to do with the accident, the car would probably have driven into the building with possibly the same sad results.
    I hope it's temporary grief over-ruling common sense, instead of greed at the expense of the death of a loved one.

  54. i am a recent grad of BHS and let me tell you, recent graduating classes of ballard have had our share of tragedies over the last few years. whats unfortunate is that we are not learning from others accidents and are not learning to make better decisions. yes, 'kids will be kids' and 'we all make mistakes', but part of growing up and going through the grief of losing friends is learning, stepping up, and making better choices.

  55. as i said below, we need to start learning from these tragedies. the speed/condition of the driver DO matter. as long as we keep looking the other way we'll never learn.

  56. For God's sake, leave the pictures up. If one person is influenced to not drive like an idiot, it is worth it. After reading the Facebook entry, it is clear that this was an accident waiting to happen. Just be glad they didn't T-bone some completely innocent party. I tell my kids to choose their friends carefully. You pay the price for your decisions sometimes. Not always, but in this case the ultimate price was paid. It's none the less sad. 60 mph or higher on that stretch of road was a disaster waiting to happen.

  57. These threee guys were great guys. They looked out for everyone, and so many loved them. Keep negative comments to yoursevles please. People are greiving and we don't want to see it. What I love about our community is that when one tradgety occurs we all come together and feel each other's pain. We love you boys. You will be missed and never forgotten. RIP

  58. Thank you Taco Bell sign for standing up for ignorant morons, who has no other way to spend their teenage rebellious life than speeding around midnight. Thank God these idiots did not injure an innocent person on the street. We should have more Taco Bell signs around who takes core of junkies like this.

    And by the way, some folks refer to these teenagers as “good people”. Lemme tell you something, “good people” do not speed around midnight (or anytime) in their cars.

  59. @crownhilljane: “…we, too, were 19 and 20 once. that is the age of stupid things and sometimes horrible consequences”

    Wrong! I knew many people when they were 19 and 20. It is incorrect to assume that everyone who is 19 and 20 are an inconsiderate, careless, stupid person who does drugs, bullies, and speed around in their cars. In many countries people don't even have cars when they are 20, and instead of teaching them how to smoke, do rugs, and speeding, they teach them respect, humility, and courteous behavior.

    But then again, america values different things.

  60. These boys were amazing smart and the best friends anyone could ask for, highschool football buddies of mine KF please please stop commenting on this we dont need anything negative said about them.

  61. I do pray for the families.
    These guys were either playing around and they lost control or were drunk or were stoned or some combination.
    They were all probably very nice people, but they made stupid choices that cost them their lives and shattered the lives of their loved ones.
    The sole cause of the this rests on their shoulders, not the intersection or the weather or the time of day or anything else.
    They did it to themselves.

  62. Oh man, this is terrible. I'm coming to the news late, and I can read a lot of pain & suffering in these comments. And other comments have obviously been removed for insensitivity or stupidity.

    News like this brings back a lot of bad memories about what it's like to be young. Sometimes good kids make bad choices, and sometimes they pay the ultimate price. Sensitivity and compassion are what's needed here. These kids and their grieving loved ones are our neighbors.

    So terrible. So very terrible.

  63. I graduated with all of these guys and was very, very good friends with 2 of them. It hurts so bad to listen to people talk bad about them, I dont know where your heart is. I also knew the guys that were in the accident over the summer and had to listen to everyone talk bad about them too. Its just rude. There are other ways to get your point across you dont have to hurt me and all my friends in the process. PLEASE stop. You all were teens at some point in time and I'm sure you all made a few bad decisions, but you got away with it. You were lucky. I am ashamed to think that you live in Ballard. Everyone in the neighborhood I have grown up in has such good souls and it's hard for me to think that bitter people like this are my neighbors. I wish I could be there right now. Love you Spenser and Kellen.

  64. Obviously the driver shouldn't have had a driver's license if he can't respect the speed limit and road rules. He could have killed innocent pedestrians which would have been much worst. At least they got what they deserve. Now you can pray all you want, but God punished them. Sure, it's sad, but it's better this way. They will not harm anyone in the future with their stupidity.

  65. Even if they went 60MPH, it wouldn't have caused that much damage to that kind of a car. Going 60MPH in that area is a really a bad choice. The impact was caused by speeds of excess of 90MPH. Driving that speed is no longer just a bad choice. It's beyond stupid and irresponsible. SIR racetrack is just a few miles away. Want to race, go there. A few more idiots are six feet under. It's about Darwin rules.

  66. I was a teen myself just a few years ago, but I don't buy this argument that we should all stick our head in the sand and act like this was just a case of bad luck or a little stupidity that many teenagers go through. If there'd been anyone in their way, which is still possible even in the middle of the night, whether they'd been in a car, on a bike, or walking, these guys would have mowed them down. Would you be so sympathetic to their terrible decision if they'd mowed down somoene who'd just finish work at a hospital and was on their way home? Does it somehow make it better that they were lucky and only killed themselves?

  67. Our thoughts are with the families of these young men, and best wishes to the girl. Regardless of the circumstances, many people are feeling pain and loss, and we wish them well.

  68. Yep, they got in the car with him.

    Drunk or not, the kid was NOT just going 50 in a 35 to do that to his car. I am just glad he didn't take out any INNOCENT person. THAT would be a tragedy.

  69. I'm pretty certain this is the same car that nearly ran over my son and I last week while we were trying to legally cross the street. They were driving at least 20 mph over the speed limit on a residential street. If it is the same car then I'm glad this driver is dead before he was able to kill an innocent pedestrian. Sorry but I don't feel a shred of sadness over this. Only tragedy is that he killed some of his friends. This person had no business being behind the wheel and was clearly a danger to others.

  70. HEY JAY OLSEN. GET A LIFE. i am frustrated with how fast young kids drive and i constantly tell them to slow down, but are you seriously going to critize the other 3 kids that WERE NOT responsible, and a mourning friend?

  71. Over my very long life I have seen 87 of my former students die this way. It is the direct result of overly indulged kids with too much time and money on their hands. A terrible terrible waste.

  72. My heart goes out to these families. Our neighbors have a young teenage girl who often gets picked up by a boy in a muscle car (the engine revving vibrates my house). Now I wonder if he was one of the boys in the car, and if she was the girl. If anyone has an update on her condition, please post it.

  73. This reminds me of the motorcycle accident on Greenwood that happened last summer. The car that the motorcycle struck (going 90mph mind you) had a 3 month old girl in it. I would have been curious to see how much sympathy the public gave those kids if they had killed that little girl. And much like this accident, the kids had been drinking, and what's even funnier is that i heard from friends of the kids that they had seen them not 20 minutes before the accident, but nobody seemed to think it would be a good idea to tell a friend to not get on a motorcycle?? We really do need to learn to make better decisions.

  74. The “R.I.P. to 3 Young Men From the Class of 2008” Facebook page has tons of pictures of these teenagers drinking and partying. I really hope that it was just a tragic accident, but I have a feeling that alcohol played a role here…

  75. I couldn't agree more. Unless the other kids got into the car under duresss. What the cops on the scene were saying (I wasn't there) is that no one had seat belts. If they had the outcome would have been different. Fastening your seat belt or not, that's a personal decision. You can't blame it all on the driver.

  76. i went to high school with these guys and i think even middle school with millard and turner, possibly jones as well… these boys were great guys and are surely going to be missed by tons of family and friends. my thoughts and prayers go out to all.

  77. The parents failed these kids. No seat belts, no insurance and the signs of drugs, drinking, and other troubles have been there for a long time.

  78. People died. Young people with families. I'd think about what you are saying before posting something so stupid and insensitive. I know the family of one of the kids, and they are a good family. Is your comment something you'd want to read if it was your child you just lost?

  79. unfortunately, i have to agree with jay olsen. you would not be so sympathetic if instead of hitting that sign, they hit your mother, father, family member, or an innocent bystander.
    i HAVE lost a friend to a careless/drunk driver and let me tell you, i was NOT saying to myself, “oh its ok everyone makes mistakes”. no. she was killed by someone who was behind the wheel making stupid choices. thank goodness in this case no one else was killed…

    of course i sympathize for those who werent driving, however it sounds like it was still a situation where overall poor judgment prevailed

    this IS a tragedy but was an avoidable one and sadly, we almost have to be glad that they didnt take anyone else with them.

  80. I seriously can't believe that people would post such insensitve comments about the people involved in this accident. These kids obviously made some poor decisions but that doesn't mean their lives had any less value. They and and their families deserve our respect and compassion.

    Love, respect and strength to all of the people dealing with this horrible accident.

  81. there are two sides to this

    1) this horrible accident happened, 3 men are dead, and one girl is in the hospital. let us all pray for the friends and families.

    2) the people in the car, driver especially, were not using good judgment and while “kids will be kids” and “none of us were perfect at 19”, let us ALL be thankful that no innocent bystanders were hurt in this wreck.

    all of you begging for sympathy would not be saying the same thing if instead of hitting that pole they hit a member of your family.

    i knew the kids involved in that crash too, and it is very sad, but if anything we need to learn from these accidents and try to avoid them, before innocent people start getting killed.
    we can sympathize for the families but we can also be thankful that the only ones who died were those in poor judgment.
    harsh reality.
    lets please stop looking the other way and “not talking” about the causes of these crashes.

  83. exactly. sad but avoidable. thank goodness no random passer-byes were killed.
    people need to take responsibility for their actions.

  84. given the circumstances, you HAVE to expect a certain level of anger coming from the community. this was no true “accident”. speeding down market, no seatbelts, it was a disaster waiting to happen. OF COURSE people are angry, we're hearing about wreckless drivers making poor decisions and we are all just worried that next time they'll hit a person not a pole.

    had that car full of kids been driving safely and had been struck by a drunk driver, there wouldnt be any rude comments. just sympathy. but the fact of the matter is this was the fault of no one but them.

    sorry, but givin the circumstances, you HAVE to expect some anger. maybe you should stay off this website.

  85. People are condemning not just the driver, here, and not just the passengers, but the families of all the kids. A terrible thing happened to them, and therefore they must be terrible people. It helps some people sleep at night to think this way — to think that the world is a just place.

    It's not.

    My heart goes out to these families, and I can't imagine what they must be going through. They're going through enough already without being dumped on here.

  86. I don't think anger is the appropriate response. What we should be is compassionate to the families and perhaps work towards educating people, especially young people, about these dangers. Being disrespectful to the dead and to their families will solve nothing.

  87. I'm not seeing what is ridiculous about this comment. Sarah, do you disagree that the accident involved careless/reckless driving? Do you disagree that it is a miracle that others innocent lives were not taken?

  88. I disagree that the buses stopping causes the wrecks and near misses. If everyone was following the law, then the cars passing the buses should wait until it is clear before going around the buses and into the oncoming traffic's lane. I think it's disturbing when folks move into the other lane and expect the other direction's traffic to swerve to miss them. This includes buses.

  89. Agreed. I knew all four people in the accident. Spenser was one of my good friends. It's a terrible tragedy and they will NOT be forgotten.

  90. Agreed, if there is community issues about traffic safety and drunk driving enforcement, this needs to be talked about elsewhere. These guys were my brothers, great human beings. Some people need to grow a heart and if youre really angry able drunk drivers on the streets, go into the schools and the to government and take action so it doesnt happen again instead of complaining on a forum that many of the close family and friend members read seeking closure like myself.

  91. My POINT is that you cannot even begin to talk about someone's family of which you obviously know nothing about. Why don't you find something more constructive with your time then judging others. The families of these boys are likely reading these comments, and your smart-a** remarks are the last thing they need to see.

  92. maybe read my response to someone below as to why the public is upset about this, and why there is a mix of anger with sympathy.

    it IS sad, but given the circumstances, there will OBVIOUSLY be mixed opinions about this incident. i pray for those families, however i do understand the other side of the story as well.

  93. i cant speak for everyone, but i am not trying to be disrespectful. i feel so horrible for everyone whos lives have been affected by this wreck.

    however, i AM angry about this incident because it was avoidable. it was caused by poor judgment. that pole could have been my mom, dad, brother or sister. and YES i get just as upset when i hear about these crashes anywhere else, not just in ballard.

    all im asking is that people not turn the blind eye to the cause of this crash, and learn from the mistakes made.

  94. it should be no shock that there are negative remarks on here. the friends and family of those involved should be able to expect that.

    unfortunately, this is not a grief and remembrance website. its a public forum where anyone can say whatever they want. and if people have certain opinions to express about the nature of the wreck, its just click away.

  95. Like many of you, sure I am angry that there is no way to get it through to teens that seat belts are a MUST and that cars are dangerous. But for all of mankind's history, most young men have been given to test the boundaries of safety, and then grow wiser as they age. I was one of the less reckless teens, yet a few times I was seduced by peer pressure into taking risks I could not comprehend allowing myself to do today.

    As a teen I was present when my parents received a call from the coroner that my 29 year old brother had died in a sailing accident. If any of you have witnessed a parent going though this particular hell, I doubt you would be compelled to post some of the callous remarks I have seen here.

    We fault these young men for not having the impulse control needed in this situation, yet some of us so-called adults cannot show the same self-discipline in regards to waiting a decent interval before condemning someone who has already paid the ultimate price for their poor choice.

  96. You ask “what can we do to make this interchange safer”? I think the answer is pretty clear: strictly enforce the speed limit. From all appearances, the speed was the problem, not the interchange. How does that indicate a lack of compassion? The signage says 25 MPH; people should go adhere to the speed limit.

    I've lived in Ballard all my life and have driven that stretch of road thousands of times. If you are going to speed limit and paying attention there is zero chance of hitting that sign.

    This loss is tragic, and it's a reminder that driving a car carries with it extremely heavy responsibilities. Responsibilities that ensure the safety of the drivers themselves and of those around them.

  97. The driver was speeding.
    The driver may have been DUI.
    The passengers were not wearing seat belts, as I am told.
    If the drive was DUI, the passengers should never have gotten in the car with him.
    I am sorry but they were all old enough to know and understand the rules of the road and basic physics.
    I am not happy over their deaths but I do put the blame of their deaths squarely on them unless it turns out something went horribly wrong mechanically with the car.
    Perhaps if their deaths deter other folks, young or old, friends of theirs on not, from drinking and driving or getting stoned and driving or speeding or playing around while driving then they will not have died in vain.

  98. I saw the previous time these kids hit a pole, causing them to be on the smaller spare tire. It was at the railroad crossing going toward Golden Gardens. Say what you will about “dangerous” intersections, but it was tragically poor judgement at work in this case.

  99. My son is a 2007 graduate, played little league with one of the boys. He has been teased for wearing his seat belt, not using drugs or alcohol, and driving like a grandma for going the speed limit. While I and my family are terribly, terribly sad for this moment of pure tragedy, and grieve with their families, let this be a teachable moment for those of us who remain, friends of the lost, to drive by the rules of the road. As a mother of a 20 year old, being reminded that bad things can happen to GOOD people, we need not diminish the very special, loving, and caring young adults they were. NOW is the time to cherish ALL of the goodness of these kids, not to trash them for a moment in time. We parents need to remind our kids why we need to drive responsibly. My thoughts and prayers are with their friends and family. May you all be surrounded by all who love you.

  100. And one of the boys had been cited a month ago for hit and run, DUI, minor in possession, no insurance, reckless driving. Four parked cars were hit and he was arrested. Wouldn't you think he would have learned a lesson?

    Now it's too late.

    Very sad and very tragic.

  101. He clearly had no problem putting Ballardites' lives in jeopardy. Sounds like death was destined to result from his choices eventually.

  102. Seattle Times is reporting that the driver, Turner, was already awaiting a court date for felony hit and run, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and that his license was suspended. Thank god these idiots didn't kill someone else. Why anyone in their right mind would get into a car driven by someone like this, I don't know. Probably none of these kids were in their right mind.

  103. i live at lock vista beside taco time and it doesn't matter how long you've lived here, i can tell you that this intersection is freaking scary. especially as a pedestrian crossing either of the streets. i think that maybe the traffic light was installed one block too far east. between the speeding cars and the confused drivers (yes, it confuses people!) it's always a crap shoot to cross 54th or market at this spot.

    no, the two tiny dangling green signs (that nowhere even mention 54th st) are not enough. and no, the missable turn only sign on the light pole is not enough. oh, and the 25mpg sign. ha!!! have you seen how small that thing is!?!?!?

    no, i am not blaming the intersection for this accident. just like i don't blame railroad tracks for bicycle wrecks.

    HOWEVER. someone needs to open their eyes!!! when the same accidents happen in the same spots over and over and over again — i just think maybe it would send up a flag or two.

    this road needs a flashing speed limit sign. it needs the CLEAR lane marking. it needs better directional signing. crosswalk signs for pedestrians. something more that what's (not) there now.

    this was a terrible accident. and i feel sadness for the families. but it will happen again.

  104. wow…. just wow. so many people failed here. the driver for making horrendously stupid decisions, the passengers for getting in his car, the parents for not getting more involved after the crash a month ago, and the court system for not suspending a license until 90 days AFTER the offense.

    epic failures all around, and yes, its still sad but thank GOD no innocent bystanders were killed.

  105. This is a very sad situation for all involved. Yes, speed was a major factor in the crash, but anything else is just pure speculation. My heart goes out to the families and friends of the 3 who passed. Let's not forget that the girl is an exchange student from Korea whose parents are having to travel halfway around the world to visit their daughter who is in the hospital in the ICU. The shear fear and terror they must be going through right now also.

  106. They should have taken the driver's license away after his first DUI. As a resident of this area I'm appalled by this accident and think it was 100% avoidable.

    Bag of pills and DUI huh? Classy…

  107. I agree 100% with manerequired. I obviously feel bad that these 3 kids had to die because of a mistake they made. I graduated from Ballard High School in 2005 and it seems like at least one person from every graduating class has died since then. Just like when an old classmate dies from over-dosing on oxycontin, you feel very sad, especially when you knew them closely, but when you engage in those activities to such a serious degree, death is the risk that you take.

    Nobody here is rude enough to say that these kids are better off dead because they chose to get behind the wheel while under the influence, or get into a car with someone that was under the influence, but these are the situations that make us all thankful that nobody we know was hurt or injured, just the people that used poor judgment. If you want to go after someone for being insensitive, why not go after the guy who's comment was “We're all missing the important question here: Is TACO TIME still open for business?”

    Now THAT was classless.

    It is human nature to be irritated with this situation. I work with someone that knew the driver and I heard about the crash one month ago and the constant drugs and drinking, and I was just waiting until everyone else saw the story to see how drastically the comments changed, and they certainly have. The angry comments remarking on the negligence of these kids have gone from about 20% of the comments posted, to what now seems like %50 percent. It's one thing to feel bad for an accidental car accident that killed 3 teens and injured another, but when you find out that the driver shouldn't have even been behind the wheel in the first place and that there was alcohol and drugs involved, as well as not wearing seat belts, then you don't really have to wonder how this happened.

    If anyone knew these kids and came up to me and told me how distraught they were after all of this, I wouldn't dare bring up my opinion in this manner. I am nowhere near cold enough to throw that in someone's face when all they need is comfort, but the fact remains, just like manerequired said, this is not a site for grieving. This is a community forum, and a large part of this community is outraged that this kid was allowed to drive a car after what happened last month. People are free to say what they want here, and that is the harsh truth.

  108. These boys party and work on their cars at my neighbors house daily. After a few hours of working on their cars, they frequently race them down the streets. If you have heard the loud revving of engines blazing down the streets of Ballard, it very well could have been a group of these young kids. I hope the rest of their friends learn from this terrible mistake and stop using Ballard as their race track.

  109. I looked and I cannot find where I read about the girl being an exchange student from Korea. I wish I could find it again so that I don't feel like I'm spreading false information.

  110. I seriously doubt if suspending the license would have made any difference at all to someone who chooses to drive drunk with a car full of his friends at 4:00 in the morning.

    Don't fall into the trap of blaming the legal system because the parents haven't fulfilled their parenting responsibility properly.

  111. Should have is right. But half the people on here think that this should be some kind of misguided memorial to how great the kids were (just a little wild) and how their parents were completely oblivious to what was going on. Baloney.

    When I was still a kid living at home, it was absolutely clear that I was following my parent's rules. That didn't include joyriding at 4:00 in the morning in a car full of drunks. Whether I was drinking or not wasn't the issue.

  112. what needless gossip? it is a FACT that he was arrested a month ago blew twice the legal limit, coulsnt even perform field sobriety tests, and had a bag of pills he admitted werent prescribed to him.

    gossip is opinion.
    these are facts.

  113. so to everyone who jumped on the backs of those stating the obvious as soon as we heard about this crash, you may now retract your statements that we were in poor taste to 'assume' drugs/alcohol/speeding were involved.

    the sooner we face the cause of this crash, the sooner we can all learn from it.

  114. exactly. even IF the parents were really oblivious, whos fault is it that the kid driving didnt learn from the prior accident, where luckily no one died? ONLY HIS.
    and because he CHOSE to not change his actions after that experience, he, and two others, are dead.

  115. im not saying all the fault was on the legal system, just saying it was a contribution to let him keep his license. had it been suspended, maybe, MAYBE, that would have encouraged his parents to step up and get involved.

  116. i must have missed those comments directed towards the families…..i think that the posts here are truly feeling sympathy for the people that they have left behind.

  117. The message board reads:
    “Share messages of support and remembrance”

    Your message like so many others, reminds me of the phrase, “kicking a dog when he's down.”

    How does smearing his name further, with old news, help the situation?

    It doesn't help or offer support to his family who are struggling with the guilt of his poor judgment and the devastating effects it has caused to so many others.

    There are people who still love him, despite all his faults and know the good he was capable of. Maybe you aren't a parent and have no understanding of that type of love.

    I know the family of one of these good young men. Do you? What would you say on this board if it had been your son, nephew or brother?

    If your children ever end up in a similar situation and I hope not, remember how you responded to this.

    Will people have sympathy or compassion for you? Do you deserve it?

    Time to take the “manner” out of your login name. It doesn't seem appropriate to me.

    By the way, where did you go to school, you could use some lessons in spelling and punctuation…

  118. dont say these kinda things about my friends these people meant a lot to me and you going to come on here and say that well **** you i hope you get hit or get in a car crash then i can talk **** about you or your family dieing what do you think of that i cant believe these people soooooooooo STFU!!!

  119. Quite possibly another example of Ballard's horrible, mediocre, cheap, etc roads and intersections in action, though those kids had to have been speeding.

  120. Although it seems that there is plenty of blame to be laid at the feet of the driver in this tragedy, I want to highlight the blame that should rightly be assigned to the greater society, which makes this story so often re-enacted. It is important to be honest about the immense power that peer pressure wields in the lives of young people. It is critical that we as a society act in ways that counter this force so that we can support young people in making responsible choices. Any honest adult can look back to their child-hood and identify ways that they have acted foolishly. Many of these decisions were influenced by peer pressure. When I was in my mid twenties, I found myself having to make a similar choice to the choice presented to the passengers in this tragedy. I found myself in the backseat of a rental car with two co-workers on a ski trip in Colorado. I was quite surprised and concerned when they decided half-way to the mountain to get a case of beer and start drinking while driving to the mountain. Suddenly I was faced with an unexpected decision to either: say nothing, risk my life, and hope for the best; tell them I thought they were stupid idiots and risk being stranded in the middle of nowhere; or take the keys, inform them I was driving, and hope the rental car company didn't find out. I eventually decided to take the keys, but it wasn't without serious consideration of option one. It scares me to think how easily people can end up in this kind of compromised situation. How much choice did the Korean girl in this accident really have? We as a society must make it so totally unacceptable for someone to ever consider drinking and driving, that young people are empowered to make good choices when confronted with this situation. I can think of at least a half dozen instances in my life when an acquaintance told me a story about having driven drunk. In each of these cases, I silently listened to the story when I should have said, “YOU JACKASS, HOW COULD YOU MAKE SUCH A CALLOUS AND INCONSIDERATE DECISION. YOU COULD HAVE KILLED SOMEONE!!!” How many of the people reading this post are guilty of the same tacit approval of this behavior? It is time to be more responsible, condemn drunk driving wherever we see or hear about it, and make this behavior truly socially unacceptable.

  121. Well now I totally agree with KF, stupid people do stupid things. Drink and drive, No big surprise. B.A.T way over the limit as we all assumed .

  122. I knew Spenser well, he was like a brother to me. So I'd just like to point out that the police and medical examiner determined that alcohol and/or drugs were not factors in this car accident.

  123. I don't think it was, but I happen to be the girlfriend of Spenser's brother and that is what I was told by my boyfriend who spoke to the mortician.

  124. You are obviously considering yourself the “public” you refer to because I've been reading these comments and it seems you are the main person who has been writing negative comments over and over again and the people of Ballard (a.k.a. the REAL public) are basically telling you to shut your trap. Myself included. So why don't you get a life and do something useful with your time instead of criticizing a situation you know nothing about.

  125. I believe that ambro72. Peaple are to guick to judge these boys because of their age. At any rate, this accident is a horrible,horrible tragedy. All of the should have's and could of's aren't going to bring these boys back. The end result,three good boys lost their lives.As a mom, who has kids the same age, I cant even begin or want too, go thru what the parents are going thru.R.I.P

  126. Stop it!!! Who are you to judge? You have led such a perfect life, so you think you have the right to call them idiots? All I can say , is shame on you!!!!! Tell me , are you in your right mind?????

  127. I send many prayers to the families and friends of all these victims….did the female mid-teens girl make it? I was so sorry to hear about this…I know that street very well, and it looks like it was wet that morning, look at all the raindrops on that photo!

    Slick road in the morning + speed at that spot never = GOOD! Yes, there may be other factors involved that we aren’t sure of yet, but we can look at the ones we ARE sure of right NOW, and that is, the conditions were not taken into account during the collision, and leading up to it.

    My boyfriend drives an early 2000 camaro, so I understand that cargo space is very tight in sports cars. They are meant for 2 total people in the car, not 4. High speed around this sudden turn in the street (I never understood why they didn’t build some sort of barrier there!) at 4:30 in the morning, so it was pretty dark out, and wet. I highly doubt a sober, tired person would be able to avoid slipping, but if you were a cautious driver who had spent decades getting accustomed to that weird little turn, you would be just fine.

    Fact of the matter is, family is love, and no one is ever happy to lose someone in their family. Especially when they only had a couple decades on this planet to share their love.

    So for all those out there willing to get on their high horse and condemn those who are grieving, stop and think about the #1 loss in your life, would you change anything if you could go back when they were still alive? The last thing you said to each other?

    Once again, I send warm thoughts and prayers to the families that must endure this ordeal.

  128. so sad what a waste of life !!!! :( this is exactly what happens when people speed, yet somehow they keep doing it !!!!!

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