Two Windward students killed, two injured in Wednesday collision

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 8.41.12 PMFERNDALE — Two Windward High School students were killed and two were injured when an allegedly impaired driver swerved off the road and struck them Wednesday afternoon, according to Washington State Patrol trooper Mark Francis.

Just after 1:30 p.m., the Toyota 4Runner driven by William J. Klein, 34, of Bellingham, swerved left and then right as he traveled east on East Smith Road near Ferndale. He struck four students walking near the intersection of Smith and Graveline roads, killing 15-year-old Gabriel Anderson and 18-year-old Shane L. Ormiston, both of Ferndale. Michael Brewster of Custer and Kole Randall of Ferndale, both 17, were critically injured and transported to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center.

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Windward High School Principal Timothy Keigley and Superintendent Linda Quinn comfort each other as the district administration arrive on the scene of the accident. (Mark Reimers/Ferndale Record)

Both were in serious but stable condition as of Wednesday afternoon, reportedly with broken legs. One was transported to Harborview Medical Center, but Francis did not know which one.

The four students were walking on the sidewalk for their physical education class at Windward High School.

Klein was taken to be evaluated by a drug recognition expert. He claimed to be on his way home from work, and to have fallen asleep while driving. Francis later reported that drugs were suspected to be a factor, and that Klein was being charged with two counts of vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault.

East Smith Road and part of Graveline Road remained closed through the afternoon and into the evening.

Statements of solidarity and sympathy poured in throughout the afternoon and evening.

“By now, most of you have heard the tragic news resulting from the accident on Smith near Graveline,” said Ferndale Mayor Gary Jensen in a statement. “There are simply no words to soothe the pain of this loss. Ferndale is hurting and we mourn together, as a community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families in this time of tragedy.”

The Ferndale School District announced a candlelight vigil will be held on Saturday at Centennial Riverwalk Park starting at 9 p.m. Local grief spokesperson Lynda Fell will lead the evening’s event. Bring a blue taper candle.

In a letter to the community, Superintendent Linda Quinn encouraged families to be attentive to the unique needs of each of their children and to seek help if needed.

“We offer condolences to the families of the two students who died,” Quinn wrote. “Our thoughts are with all of you. Also, our thoughts are with the two students hospitalized and their families.”