Troopers cite speed as possible factor in Issaquah teen’s accident
February 2, 2011
By Laura Geggel
UPDATED — 6:25 p.m. Feb. 2, 2011
Issaquah teenager Tyler Lucas died Tuesday morning after his Dodge Neon struck two other vehicles on Interstate 405 in Bellevue.
Friends and lacrosse teammates plan to memorialize Lucas with a candlelight vigil at 8:30 p.m. in the courtyard at Issaquah High School, 700 Second Ave. S.E.
The 18-year-old was driving northbound on I-405 just north of Interstate 90 at about 10:20 a.m. when he made a sudden motion to avoid stopping traffic, the Washington State Patrol said.
“The preliminary investigation shows that that traffic was suddenly slowing and doing that stop and go thing because of a collision farther up,” Trooper Julie Startup said Wednesday.
When traffic slowed, Lucas braked, lost control and rear-ended a Chevrolet Suburban driven by Mountlake Terrace resident Peter Gradwohl.
Lucas’ Neon then spun into another lane and struck a Honda Accord driven by Shelly Keene, 46, of Renton. Troopers said a vehicle moving too fast for the conditions was likely a factor in the accident.
Lucas was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where he died from his injuries.
Gradwohl was taken to Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue. Keene was treated for minor injuries. The collision is under investigation.
Drugs and alcohol were not a factor in the accident, and all parties involved had been wearing seatbelts.
Lucas formerly attended Issaquah High School, but withdrew at the end of his junior year in 2010, Issaquah School District spokeswoman Sara Niegowski said.
The school is offering extra counseling on Wednesday for students seeking support.
Issaquah Youth Lacrosse co-president Charles Mauzy, who knew Lucas, called him an “amazing, promising young man.”
Mauzy’s son played lacrosse with the youth, an athlete who had a talent for the sport.
“He was just an absolutely wonderful young man,” Mauzy said. “Full of life.”
Lucas also played lacrosse for Issaquah High School and played for Coach Brandon Fortier. He made varsity his freshman year and played starting defender his sophomore and junior years.
During Lucas’ junior year, he began taking classes at Chrysalis School in Woodinville, but he continued playing lacrosse at Issaquah High. The accident happened when he was driving to Chrysalis on Tuesday morning, Fortier said.
Fortier said the lacrosse team was mourning the loss of their teammate.
“I’m sure those guys will have something to play for and have something to rally for and use this as motivation as best we can,” he said.