Date: August 10, 2009
Location: U.S. 30, near Clatskanie
Names: Aja L. Gerrity, Amanda Williams, Richard Michael Araiza, Jason Cary Carter, Dustin Evan Leitzell, Ki Young Kim
Oregonlive.com reports the death of four teens Aja Gerrity, Amanda Williams, Richard Michael Araiza, Jason Cary Carter, and Dustin Evan Leitzell as seriously injured in an accident that occurred Monday, August 10.
The four teens, aged 17 and 18 were on their way to the coast on U.S. 30 near Clatskanie, for a post-graduation get-together when driver Aja L. Gerrity of Ridgefield attempted to pass another car. She lost control of the vehicle and slid broadside across the highway, eventually hit by another van driven by Ki Young Kim, 55, of Vancouver. Gerrity, Amanda Williams, Richard Michael Araiza, all of Ridgefield, and Jason Cary Carter of Vancouver were pronounced dead at the scene. A fifth passenger of of the vehicle containing the teens, Dustin Evan Leitzell, of Ridgefield was taken by lifeflight with critical injuries to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland. Kim was reportedly taken to St. John Medical Center in Longview, Washington, and is listed in stable condition. Three of the five teens were wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident, it is still under investigation if the other two were not.
As parents, this tragedy deeply affects us. The horror of losing one’s child is unthinkable. We hope the families of these five teens can come together and look to each other for strength and hope in this heartbreaking period. This fatal accident has left many unanswered questions, creating unnecessary complexity to an already stressful time. It is essential that the Gerrity, Williams, Araiza, Carter families take this time to mourn and recover.
With this in mind, it is important to note that evidence regarding the accident may disappear fast. Insurance companies know this and will take advantage of the situation, honing legal action around an accident’s victims and their families. If either of the families impacted by this tragedy is seeking legal counsel, but is understandably waiting to call an experienced Oregon injury attorney, I would like to extend a copy of our free Oregon accident book, that provides simple, easy to read information that will help.