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Lynden High grad killed in rollover crash near Ellensburg

Lynden's Sofia Milstead clears a hurdle during the first heat of the girls' 300 meter hurdles at the Bedlington Invitational track and field meet on Friday, March 21, 2014 in Bellingham.
Lynden's Sofia Milstead clears a hurdle during the first heat of the girls' 300 meter hurdles at the Bedlington Invitational track and field meet on Friday, March 21, 2014 in Bellingham. The Bellingham Herald

An 18-year-old Lynden High School graduate was killed and three passengers injured when their car rolled over on Interstate 90 near Ellensburg on Thursday afternoon, July 30.

Sofia C. Milstead, who graduated from Lynden High School in June 2015, was driving a 1999 Subaru Legacy eastbound around 4 p.m. when the car veered off the freeway to the right, about six miles west of Ellensburg. Milstead over-corrected, and the car came back onto the freeway and rolled onto its top, according to a Washington State Patrol report.

Milstead died at the scene. Three 18-year-old passengers — Alexa Smiley, Katherine Webb, and Nicole DeBoer — all were injured in the crash but were able to get out of the car, said WSP spokesman Darren Wright. Paramedics transported them to Kittitas Valley Hospital.

Smiley and Webb went to Lynden High School with Milstead. DeBoer graduated from Burlington-Edison High School.

The teens were headed to the Watershed Festival at the Gorge Amphitheatre and were following two trucks of people they planned to meet there.

The traffic at the time of the crash was “reasonably heavy,” Wright said. Troopers are still investigating the circumstances that led to the crash. They do not suspect drug or alcohol use was involved. All four women in the car were wearing seat belts, according to the state patrol.

Milstead played soccer and was on the track team at Lynden High School. She was a cheerleader for three years and captain her senior year. She also was involved with her high school student government.

“Sofia was the girl everybody wanted to be friends with because of her personality and the way she brightened up the room every day,” said friend McKenna Tjoelker.

Milstead had been working at the E2 Fitness Center in Lynden. This fall, she planned on attending Washington State University.

But first she wanted to go enjoy a music festival with her friends.

“Everybody knew that girl, and everybody loved her,” Tjoelker said. “It doesn’t feel real for us at all. It’s weird she really isn’t with us. It’s weird we’re not with Sofia. It’s weird that we’re not listening to that contagious laugh.”

Reach Wilson Criscione at 360-756-2803 or wilson.criscione@bellinghamherald.com.

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