BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — An SUV jumped a curb and plowed into a group of Washington state high school students out for a gym class walk on Wednesday, killing two boys and seriously injuring two others, the Washington State Patrol said.
About 30 students from Windward High School in Ferndale, north of Bellingham, were out walking with a teacher along a sidewalk when the vehicle left the road and hit the four teens, Trooper Mark Francis said.
The 34-year-old driver, who had his 3-year-old son in the vehicle with him, was arrested. Neither he nor his son was hurt. The man initially said he fell asleep at the wheel but later acknowledged he had used drugs, Francis said.
Some classmates walking behind those who were struck watched the crash happen, Francis said.
"Just heard just the worst yell - just, 'No! No! No!'" Shelley Hardt, who was working nearby, told KOMO-TV. "You knew that something really, really bad had happened. So I ran outside as fast as I could."
Lynnette Delamare and her husband live nearby and had watched the teens walk by. Then they heard three or four loud crashes from the street.
"We went running out and there was just bodies everywhere, so we didn't know which one to go to," she told KING-TV. "Finally more people started coming and we got blankets and we knew right away. two of them were not moving."
Shane Ormiston, 18, and Gabriel Anderson, 15, both of Ferndale, were killed, the State Patrol said.
Two 17-year-olds — Michael Brewster of Custer and Kole Randall of Ferndale — were injured. Both suffered severe leg fractures, the Bellingham Herald reported.
Brewster, who was listed in serious condition, was transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham. The other boy was in serious condition at St. Joseph.
Driver William Klein of Bellingham was arrested for investigation of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault, Francis said. The man told a patrol drug recognition expert he had used drugs "and the expert also observed signs of impairment," Francis said. The trooper would not discuss what drugs were mentioned.
The crash investigation continues.
"There are simply no words to soothe the pain of this loss," Ferndale Mayor Gary Jensen said in a statement.
The Ferndale School District said Windward High classes would be in session Thursday and Friday.