SWHS teen killed while crossing Highway 525

A 15-year-old Greenbank teen was hit by a car and killed while on her way home from Christmas shopping Saturday afternoon.

Tonya Scriven, a sophomore at South Whidbey High School, was trying to walk across Highway 525 near Greenbank Farm when she was hit by a car driven by a Coupeville man.

Police said the teenager had just gotten off an Island Transit bus at the bus stop across from Wonn Road right before 5 p.m. when she was struck.

Tonya Scriven had been in Oak Harbor for an afternoon of Christmas shopping before the accident, her father said.

“She left the house about noon to go Christmas shopping and she had done that. She picked up some dog treats for her dogs and some presents for her sister and myself,” said her father, Tim Scriven of Greenbank.

Friends and family said Scriven was quiet and caring, sensitive and independent. She was going to turn 16 on Dec. 29.

“She had a kind heart,” her father said.

“She liked working with young kids. She was a Big Sister and had a Little Brother named Darien,” Scriven said.

“I saw her going into a field where she would have been helping younger kids, special education or a teacher or something like that,” he added.

“She was nice and caring and special,” said Rashelle Scriven, 9.

“When I was sad, she made me happy, really happy,” Rashelle said. “She would sit down and talk to me. She would ask what made me sad and she would try and fix it with me or tell jokes. I am going to miss everything about her.”

A parent volunteer at South Whidbey High School saw

Scriven as a girl with a big heart, too.

“When we had the Rock for Katrina Victims dance to raise money for hurricane relief, Tonya was the student who went around to all the classes asking kids to come,” Lisa Hanna recalled.

“She made most of the posters and handed out flyers at lunch. She came early to the dance to set up and stayed until the hall was swept and clean long after all the other kids has left,” Hanna said.

“Scriven was a real example of how students can be a force in their communities for good. She will be sorely missed by her classmates, friends and teachers.”

The State Patrol closed Highway 525 for 3 1/2 hours after the accident Saturday night. The investigation is ongoing.

The State Patrol said Scriven walked across the road as a 1993 Geo Tracker driven by William Losey was headed north on the highway.

Losey, 58, was not injured in the accident.

“He first saw her in his headlights at the centerline and she was just starting to dart across in front of him,” said Island County Coroner Robert Bishop.

Bishop said two cars were waiting to get onto the highway at Wonn Road as Losey approached, leaving the driver with the choice of swerving to the right and hitting the cars or swerving left into oncoming traffic.

The driver chose left, which would have put his car behind Scriven if she had continued moving across the highway, Bishop said.

“But as he did that, she hesitated and turned around to go back,” Bishop said.

“He was braking the whole time. He had no chance. I feel so bad for him.”

Washington State Patrol Trooper Dave Martin said he hopes that two potential witnesses will step forward to talk to police about the accident.

“We just want to get more information,” Martin said.

“There were two cars parked at the stop sign at Wonn Road waiting to turn onto the highway. They may or may not have been witnesses to the scene, but they left. I would like to get in touch with those people,” he said.

“These people could help us put together why she went out into the middle of the road,” Martin said. “Was she not paying attention? Did she misjudge the distance? Or was there something else going on there that contributed to the accident?”

While police continue the investigation, family and friends are remembering a teenager who put others before herself.

When Scriven was not helping people, sharing her heart or spending time with her dogs Soda Pup and Cooley, she was reading or writing, which to her mother was a big accomplishment for a girl who battled attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“This is a child who was diagnosed with ADHD and ADD,” said Scriven’s mother, Darlene Rowberry of Maricopa, Ariz. “Once we finally overcame all of that, reading became her passion. She loved reading Harry Potter books, anything to do with dogs and any books in general.”

“She was a big reader and she liked animals and read stories about animals; cats and dogs,” her father said said.

Her family and friends said she liked to write, many times about far-fetched topics.

Lisa Meier, Scriven’s best friend, recalled the fun they had writing stories about superheroes together.

“We both like writing,” she said. “We’ve been friends since the sixth grade. We would hang out at lunch and sometimes after school at the library. I will miss her.”

“We were going to be writing a comic book about four kids that had some special powers, just for fun,” added stepbrother Justin Rowberry, 15, of Everett.

“And she was going to help me with a zombie movie I wanted to make called ‘Dead City: Eversprings.’ She was going to be the script writer.”

Others remember a teenager who was compassionate about helping others.

“I was in my first period class one morning when Tonya came in with two big bags of food for the food drive,” said fellow South Whidbey High School student Lindsey Newman. “It touched my heart that she cared so much.”

Recently, Scriven was holding down two jobs; one at Greenbank Winery and Whidbey Pies.

“She was turning 16 but she was not in a hurry to get her driver’s license,” said Rowberry. “She enjoyed riding the bus. She wasn’t in a hurry to try to get her license. She knew that Island Transit would take her everywhere.”

Though some described Scriven as a bit of a tomboy who hated wearing dresses or make-up, she had plenty of guy friends.

“She was self-assured because she didn’t care what anyone thought of her,” said Meier, her best friend. “She liked doing what she wanted to do and didn’t care if she got in trouble. She was very confident.”

Scriven cared about the people she met, her father said.

“Tonya was sensitive to other people’s feelings,” he said. “She wasn’t the most popular kid in school but she had a small group of friends. She was a quiet kid and wasn’t out and about a lot.”

Students at South Whidbey High School spent part of Monday making cards and writing condolence notes to the family.

“A crisis response team was formed to create a statement for students and staff,” said South Whidbey High School Principal Rob Prosch. “They set up a special gathering place for those who want to write about their feelings and offer the family their condolences.”

“All district counselors are on-site to help,” Prosch added. “We mourn her loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.”

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20 at South Whidbey Assembly of God on Maxwelton Road.

Donations are being accepted at any Wells Fargo branch for a special account, “In memory of Tonya Scriven.” Scriven’s family and friends have also set up collection points at Coupe’s Greenbank Store, Greenbank Farm and the Freeland Library. Donations will be used to create a memorial plaque.

“She always had a smile for me,” her father said.

“Oh, God, she was the most happiest child,” her mother added. “She loved to smile. It was just her personality. She was a happy baby.”

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 1
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates