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Kent teen dies and three injured in early morning car accident - Developing Story
Editor's note: A candlelight vigil has been scheduled for Jan. 6. More updates as this story develops.
The Kent-Meridian community is mourning the loss of one of its own this week after a car crash over the weekend left one student dead and three others injured.
Dorian Tursic, 18, was killed Sunday morning when the 2004 Chevrolet Impala he was driving crashed into a tree in the 23800 block of 64th Avenue South in Kent.
The three other students, Jordan Bell, 17, Molly Kirk, 14, and Malaika Henry, 14, were transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with serious, but non-life threatening injuries.
According to a press release from the Kent Police Department, the accident occurred at approximately 3:58 a.m. Jan. 3.
The group of teenagers in the vehicle had met earlier with a second group of friends in SeaTac. Both vehicles of teenagers were on their way to a residence in Kent when the collision occurred.
The second vehicle witnessed, but was not involved in the collision. The Kent Traffic unit responded and their preliminary investigation indicates that high speeds and driver inexperience were contributing factors in the cause of the collision. As of Monday, it was not known if alcohol played a part, and that determination will depend on lab tests, the results of which are not expected back for approximately four weeks.
According to Kent-Meridian High School Principal Wade Barringer, Tursic transferred in September to K-M from Tyee High School in SeaTac but was already “pretty popular” among the student body.
“In that time he’s made a lot of friends,” Barringer said Monday in a phone interview.
Tursic, a senior, was a member of the varsity basketball team and carried a 3.8 grade point average, according to Barringer, who said Tursic had plans to go on to college after graduation.
“The first time I ever met him he said he was going to Stanford,” Barringer said, adding that Tursic had a tough exterior but was a good-hearted, highly intelligent kid with a bright future.
Counselors and staff were on call at Kent-Meridian on Monday to meet with students, who were also given time to process the information on their own and in groups with fellow students, though most had returned to class by noon.
“They just needed some time to process it with each other,” Barringer said, adding that some students arrived to school Monday wearing shirts and hats in memory of Tursic.
A moment of silence was also held Monday morning at the school in his honor and a candlelight vigil is planned for 6 p.m. Wednesday at French Field.
Tursic was also employed at the Champs Sports store at Southcenter and was a member of the Kent-Meridian varsity basketball team where he had recently been named a starter.
“He was really laid back,” said K-M coach Brian Lockhart. “He would always joke and was really into enjoying life.
“The first thing I noticed him was that he had a good basketball IQ. He was sneaky quick,” Lockhart continued. “He had the ability to take it off the dribble, he was into leaners and spin moves off the glass. He had a feel for the game.”
Barringer and Lockhart met with members of the team at a meeting Sunday and Barringer met with Tursic’s mother Monday morning.
For the remainder of the season, the Royals basketball team will honor Tursic’s memory by wearing black wristbands emblazoned with the 6-foot-2-inch guard’s number, 22. His jersey will also be displayed on an empty chair at home and away games for the rest of the season and Tursic will continue to be announced at games and memorialized in programs.
The other injured students were also members of the school’s varsity girls basketball team and Barringer said students and staff at K-M were optimistic for a speedy recovery and return for all three.
“We hope they are able to recover soon and come back to school,” he said.
A community candlelight vigil for Tursic has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 6 at Kent-Meridian High School's French Field.