Issaquah teen dies in car accident

February 8, 2011

By Laura Geggel

Tyler Lucas

Issaquah teenager Tyler Lucas died the morning of Feb. 1 after his Dodge Neon struck two other vehicles on Interstate 405 in Bellevue.

The 18-year-old was driving northbound on I-405 just north of Interstate 90 at about 10:20 a.m. A collision further up the interstate had caused traffic to slow, and Lucas made a sudden motion to avoid stopping traffic, the Washington State Patrol said.

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 Lucas’ vehicle was moving too fast for the conditions, and 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, police said.

A lacrosse star

Ever since he picked up a lacrosse stick in elementary school, Lucas immersed himself in the sport. His parents fully supported his extracurricular activity, with his mother, Patty Lucas, yelling “Sweee” her abbreviation for “sweet” from the stands every time he or a teammate made a good play, save, shot or goal.

If a fellow athlete made a hat trick, they got a plate of cookies from her, family friend Lena Powers wrote in an e-mail.

“She is a true laxmom,” Powers wrote.

Jim Lucas coached lacrosse and flew across the country with his son for tournaments.

At a vigil Feb. 2, friends and family remembered Lucas as a teenager who was laid back off the field and showed intense talent during games.

“He was straight forward with you,” Sammamish High School senior Jose Esquivel said. “He always had your back.”

The weekend before the accident, Esquivel and a group of lacrosse players had gathered at Lucas’ house to play video games, “as we usually do,” he said. “He always shared everything — his food, his clothes, his lacrosse gear.”

Lucas formerly attended Issaquah High School, but withdrew at the end of his junior year in 2010, Issaquah School District spokeswoman Sara Niegowski said.

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, 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.

Laura Geggel: 392-6434, ext. 241, or Comment at

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