Clinton fatality crash 'one of the worst,' fire official says

The 2003 Chevrolet Malibu that was involved in a deadly accident near Clinton Friday evening sits in a State Patrol
The 2003 Chevrolet Malibu that was involved in a deadly accident near Clinton Friday evening sits in a State Patrol's impound lot in Skagit County.
— image credit: Washington State Patrol photo

A car crash that killed three young men on Wilkinson Road near Clinton late Friday night has left South Whidbey devastated.

The Washington State Patrol did not identify the deceased, pending notification of their next of kin.

Word quickly spread throughout the South End, however, of the identities of the 20-year-old Langley man and the 22-year-old Freeland resident who were killed. The third victim was a friend visiting from Palmdale, Calif.

The driver, Kaylea Souza, 18, of Langley had minor injuries after the crash and was taken to Whidbey General Hospital in Coupeville.

The State Patrol said Souza was driving a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu traveling south on Wilkinson Road and lost control after passing another vehicle. Her car veered off the road to the right and hit a tree.

“It’s probably one of the worst ones I’ve ever seen,” said Island County Fire District 3 Assistant Chief Paul Busch.

“The tree was sitting, square dab in the passenger seat,” Busch said.

A firefighter who lives near the scene of the wreck near Surface and Wilkinson roads in Langley responded within a few minutes, Busch said. By the time he arrived, the car was engulfed in flames.

“Final identification is going to have to be made through dental records,” Busch said.

Busch, the duty officer, arrived soon after and was surprised by the extent of the damage.

The crash is under investigation by the State Patrol.

South Whidbey High School principal John Patton had already made plans for grief counseling during classes Monday.

“Whenever there’s a death in our community we set it up so we can support our students in talking with counselors and dealing with the grief,” Patton said.

Patton said he was working with the school’s nurse to offer grief counseling for students and affected people Monday.

Firefighters were at the scene five hours until the car was towed to Burlington-Edison for further investigation.

The sight of the mangled car should be a deterrent to speeding, Busch said.

“Those who say speed doesn’t kill - take a look at this car,” Busch said.

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