Olympic View victims had marijuana in systems

Edmonds PD releases final report on July 22 accident that killed 2
By Brian Soergel | Nov 30, 2016
Photo by: Brian Soergel An accident on Olympic View Drive this summer killed two teenagers. Picture taken July 23, the day after the accident.

Both of the boys who died in a horrific crash on Olympic View Drive in Edmonds over the summer had THC, the ingredient in marijuana responsible for most of its psychological effects, in their bodies.

That determination from the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office is included in the Edmonds Police Department’s final report on the incident.

The July 22 crash killed 16-year-old Zachary Langer of Edmonds, a sophomore at Edmonds-Woodway High School, and 15-year-old Noah Vires of Lynnwood, who attended Mountlake Terrace and Scriber Lake high schools.

Three other passengers – two girls and a boy, all between the ages of 13 and 16 – were in the 2003 BMW 325i, registered to Langer’s father.

The following information was taken from the final police report:

The first officers on scene, after a call from dispatch shortly before 11:30 p.m., were Jeff Jones, Nicholas Haughian and Earl Yamane.

Soon after passing a 20 mph sign on an eastbound curve – between Andover Street and 180th Street SW in Southwest County Park – Jones saw four teens on the sidewalk near the apex of the curve. Three had been in another car and had stopped to help. The other, a girl, was screaming, with blood around her nose and mouth. She was the passenger in the front right seat; she escaped through the windshield after kicking it out.

She told Jones that four people were in the car, and one might be dead.

One person who had stopped to help, 19-year-old Eva Woeck, rushed to the girl to console her, and called 911. “I asked her how many people were in the car, and she said five,” Woeck said. “I asked if they were wearing a seatbelt. She told me she was only one that was.”

Jones noticed the back end of the car about 10 feet down an embankment, behind a tree. He heard another girl screaming for help. He looked in the passenger window and saw a boy where the driver’s seat should have been. The boy was in an awkward position. He was breathing, moaning and twitching, but not responsive.

Jones saw another boy who did not appear to be breathing. A girl in the back of the car, who was screaming, cried out that she needed help. She asked Haughian multiple times if she were dead.

Another boy was outside the car, his legs pinned under the car.

Personnel from Snohomish County Fire District 1 and Lynnwood Police arrived on scene. One of the boys, Vires, the one located where the driver’s seat should have been – he had been seated in the back seat on the right – was extracted from the car. Fire department personnel began performing CPR on him, but he died on scene.

The other boy, Langer, who was under Vires, also was pronounced dead. He was left in the car so the Medical Examiner’s Office could remove him.

The other two passengers were extracted and, along with the girls who had escaped from the overturned car, were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Jones began the task of identifying the two victims. While working this out, he received a report that the owner of the vehicle, Frederick Langer, had filed a missing report on his son. Jones and Haughian went to the owner’s residence to notify him that his son was dead. The boy’s mother, who lives at a different location, also was notified.

Although the car’s surviving passengers identified the second boy who died, he did not have ID with him, according to Officer Eric Falk, who was named the primary investigator.

Driving too fast

All surviving occupants, whose names were blacked out in the police report because they are juveniles, confirmed that the car was going too fast for Olympic View’s curves. One girl said that she looked at the speedometer before the crash and saw it registering 80 mph.

Traffic Detective Linda Mack, after conducting an analysis of curved skid marks, determined that the left tire had a point of impact at 67 mph, with the right tire at 64 mph.

The car hit a curb and flew through the air before crashing into a tree on its left side, about 12-15 feet down an embankment. The tree was left cracked, with numerous pieces of glass, paint and car parts imbedded in it. The force of the crash wrapped the car counterclockwise around the tree. It came to rest upside down.

Another officer, Kraig Strum, said it appeared the car seemed to be ripped almost in half, and the roof was missing.

Truth or dare

Later, after being released from Harborview, the girl in the right front passenger seat who kicked through the windshield told Falk that she and the driver had started dating the day before the collision.

She said that, on the night of the collision, she and the driver stopped in the Edmonds-Woodway High School parking lot and that, as part of “truth or dare,” he dared her to drive the car. She drove a few feet before stopping. The driver then negotiated some “drift” moves in the lot, using brakes to force the rear of the car sideways.

The girl said that, after driving around downtown Edmonds, a decision was made to drive to Dick’s Drive-In on Highway 99 via Olympic View. While on Olympic View, she said the car passed two other cars. She told the driver to slow down – she heard tires squealing as they rounded corners – but another passenger was exhorting him to drive faster. She said she believed the driver was showing off for her.

At one point, she said, the driver told her: “You’re not going to die.”

“Willful and wanton disregard”

In the police report’s conclusion, Falk wrote:

“While conducting the investigation, I thought it might be possible the listed vehicle was racing with the second vehicle that stopped to render assistance because it contained passengers of a similar age to those in the vehicle that crashed. After interviewing the occupants of both vehicles, I determined there was no evidence the vehicles were racing or were traveling as a group. The second vehicle came upon the collision by happenstance.

“Each occupant I interviewed in the vehicle that crashed confirmed that the driver of the vehicle was driving too fast and beyond his abilities. The toxicology report revealed he was driving while impaired from THC. It should be noted that the other deceased passenger also had THC in his system.

“None of the occupants I interviewed mentioned anything about them using any drugs, specifically those containing THC.

“The evidence revealed the collision was the result of an inexperienced driver being impaired and exceeding the posted speed limit while driving with a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of persons and property.

“It resulted in his death, the death of another passenger, and the injury of three other passengers.”


Comments (2)
Posted by: Jerry Michael Steele | Dec 01, 2016 15:17

This just breaks my heart.  I grew up in Meadowdale and know Olympic View pretty well.  It really hasn't changed a lot in the last 60-odd years.  And kids wrecked cars there even then.  I didn't have the nerve to be doing 80, but the car I drove didn't even HAVE seat belts!  And I had a bunch of brothers and a sister in the car lots of times.  It was my good fortune I never hurt anyone during what I call "the stupid years".

Posted by: Brian E Soergel | Dec 01, 2016 16:51

Thank you, Jerry. Can I use this as a letter to the editor? If so, please tell me your city of residence.

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