Detectives pursuing vehicular homicide charges against teen driver

Author: Jeff Humphrey, KXLY4 Reporter , jeffhu@kxly.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 11:01:45 AM PST   Updated On: Oct 30 2013 06:23:05 PM PDT
University High crash memorial
SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -

Spokane County Sheriff's deputies are pursuing vehicular homicides charges against the teen driver who killed two of his University High School classmates on Oct. 5.

Sophomores Josie Freier and McKenzie Mott died when the car they were in hit a curb, went airborne and slammed into a tree.

Previously it was revealed the 16-year-old driver was traveling at freeway speeds in a neighborhood where the posted speed limit is 25 miles an hour. Detectives have interviewed friends of the victim who say the trio had left a nearby party with the intention of doing something called the "Ponderosa Jump," a crest of a hill where, if you get enough speed, you can get your car airborne.

Friends, according to court documents, say this was not the first time the 16-year-old had jumped this hill in a car, but on Oct. 5, unfortunately, he lost control of his car before ever reaching the hill. He tried to steer his way through two curves, lost control and then ended up getting tossed into the air by a curb and then collided with a ponderosa pine.

Detectives have filed a search warrant for the teen's record from his driving school to know more about his driving skills. Authorities say this brand new driver, who had just received his license one day before the fatal crash, wasn't allowed to have his friends in the car in the first place.

"The intermediate drivers license restriction is in place to protect young drivers from incidents just like this one," Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Chamberlin said.

"To not have those added distractions in their vehicle. We're not happy about having to investigate this. It's a tragedy. It's sad for multiple people, just not in the valley but our entire community and hopefully in the long run we can use this as an educational tool," Chamberlin added.

If investigators do ask for vehicular homicides charges, this 16-year-old probably would be prosecuted as a juvenile and would face a punishment measured in weeks instead of months.