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SUV hits teens walking on Smith Road; 2 dead, 2 injured

Two teens killed in accident near Ferndale

Two teens were killed and two others taken to St. Joseph hospital after they were hit by an SUV on W. Smith Road on June 10, 2015.
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Two teens were killed and two others taken to St. Joseph hospital after they were hit by an SUV on W. Smith Road on June 10, 2015.

Two teenage boys were killed and two other boys were seriously hurt Wednesday, June 10, when a suspected drugged driver hit them on the sidewalk near Ferndale during a school outing.

About 30 students from Windward High School were out walking together, east on West Smith Road, to get some fresh air on the warm afternoon, as a kind of P.E. trip supervised by a teacher, said Washington State Patrol Trooper Mark Francis.

Lynnette Delamare, 51, recalled seeing the dozens of teenage kids walk by as she and her husband, Scott, 60, ate lunch in the backyard around 1:30 p.m. They wondered out loud if school had gotten out early. Then, a moment later, a series of three or four loud crashes came from the street.

“It sounded like the impact of a couple of cars hitting,” Delamare said.

In a home office across the street, bookkeeper Shelley Hardt heard a “blood-curdling scream: ‘No! No! No!’”

Neighbors ran outside to find chaos: screams, horrific injuries to four teenage boys, children — who saw everything — in shock, and mass confusion about who needed help first. Witnesses told state patrol an eastbound black Toyota 4Runner swerved slightly to the left before over-correcting to the right, plowing into the boys on a raised sidewalk on Smith at Graveline Road.

Two of the boys, Shane L. Ormiston, 18, and Gabriel L. Anderson, 15, died at the scene. Both were from Ferndale.

Hardt and another neighbor tried to console one of the girls who saw it happen.

“I told her not to look around,” Hardt said. “I told her to look down.”

Two other boys, Michael A. Brewster, 17, of Custer, and Kole A. Randall, 17, of Ferndale, suffered severe fractures to their legs. They both were treated at St. Joseph hospital, then Brewster was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle by ambulance. Both were in serious condition Wednesday evening.

At first the driver, William J. Klein, 34, of Bellingham, told police he had fallen asleep as he drove home from work. Klein showed no egregious outward signs of intoxication when troopers spoke with him, said Trooper Mark Francis.

Later, however, Klein he admitted he’d been using drugs before the crash, according to the state patrol. Francis declined to name which drug or drugs.

Klein had his 3-year-old son in a safety seat in the Toyota, according to state patrol. The child was not hurt.

Troopers arrested Klein. He faces two counts of vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault.

The intersection was shut down for hours for an investigation.

Windward High School, a public high school in the Ferndale School District, held graduation ceremonies Tuesday night, but classes continued throughout the week. School will be in session Thursday and Friday, the district announced.

Windward’s campus is about a quarter-mile east of the crash scene. Already on Wednesday afternoon, a bouquet of yellow flowers had been left on the grass outside the school.

A community gathering, with grief counselors available to talk with parents and students, was scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Good News Fellowship Church, 1252 W. Axton Road.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or caleb.hutton@bellinghamherald.com. Read the Dispatcher blog at bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher-blog and follow him on Twitter at @bhamcaleb.

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