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U High students mourning teens killed in weekend crash

Published On: Dec 24 2013 09:16:33 AM CST
Updated On: Oct 07 2013 08:56:40 PM CDT
University High crash memorial
SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -

The Spokane Valley community is still reeling from a huge loss over the weekend after two University High School students, McKenzie Mott and Josie Freier, were killed Saturday night in a single car crash near E. Ponderosa Drive and S. Bates Road.

The driver of the vehicle, Preston Maher, is in stable condition in the intensive care unit at a local hospital.

At University High School Monday, counselors from the school and around the district were on-hand all day, where they found many students still in disbelief over the crash that took the lives of two of their classmates.

"I didn't think it was true," Makayla Helliwell, who played soccer with McKenzie and Josie, said. "I thought it was fake. I still ... can't wrap my head around it. It makes no sense."

At the crash scene Monday Spokane County Sheriff's deputies were working to determine what happened.

"We work these collisions backwards, we can tell you how it happened," Deputy Craig Chamberlin said.

Maher was driving Mott and Freier home from a birthday party Saturday night around 9 p.m. Deputies say the sedan zoomed down the hill and around a curve when the car drifted, hit the curb, went airborne and wrapped around a tree. Freier and Mott were killed in the crash while Mahter ended up in the hospital.

"Obviously a brand new driver, going too fast for the road conditions, and it ended in the worst possible that it could have ended," Chamberlin said.

Chamberlin said Maher was not impaired but was speeding, which was evident from the tire marks on the asphalt.

"We take the evidence we gathered during our initial investigation. Our ultimate goal is to try and come up with a speed," he said.

Investigators will use markings, car parts found at the scene, and damage to the tree to reconstruct what happened. They can try and find out how but it won't answer why.

That investigation into the crash could take several weeks. As of right now, deputies do not anticipate charges being filed in the crash, however, they need to recreate the crash and find out the determining factors before there is a definitive decision on whether charges would be filed.

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