One female hospitalized in critical condition Tuesday
By JOHN McCALLUM
Speed and narcotics may have led to an accident just north of Cheney that sent six Cheney High School students to area hospitals Friday night.
Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies received a call about 10:16 p.m. of a rollover on the 13700 block of Betz Road, about one-and-a-half miles north of its intersection with Washington Street. Upon arriving on scene they discovered a 2001 Nissan Pathfinder had apparently failed to negotiate a 90-degree curve at the top of the hill, struck a curve indicator sign, over-corrected and rolled off the roadway.
“That’s where they lost it and went down into the wheat field on the left,” Sheriff’s Office public information officer Detective David Thornburg said.
Six teenagers, all CHS students, had been riding in the vehicle and two were ejected when it rolled. One of the ejected occupants, a 17-year-old female, was critically injured and flown by Northwest MedStar to a local hospital where she was placed in the intensive care unit.
The other five teens were transported to area hospitals. Upon examination Sheriff’s Office traffic investigators learned the driver of the Nissan, a 16-year-old male, had been recently smoking marijuana.
Marijuana was found in the vehicle, and investigators uncovered evidence at the scene suggesting the Nissan was traveling at a high rate of speed at the time of the accident.
“We haven’t done the speed work on this yet, but it does look like they were over the speed limit,” Thornburg said Tuesday.
The 16-year-old was arrested at the hospital and a blood draw was taken. Thornburg said the samples were sent to the state toxicology lab in Seattle for analysis, a process that usually takes about six weeks.
The rest of the vehicle occupants were treated for minor injuries and released. Thornburg said the 17-year-old female was released from the ICU Monday with head and pelvis injuries and was to undergo surgery on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
Betz Road was closed for about five hours Friday night while investigators documented the scene. Thornburg said the investigation into the crash continues, with results not anticipated for another 6-8 weeks.
John McCallum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.