A Cascade Christian High School was killed last week in Tacoma after the car in which he was driving struck a power pole and exploded into flames.
Cameron Addleman, 20, died at the scene of the Jan. 13 accident, according to authorities. He graduated CCHS in 2011.
The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office said the cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning.
Addleman’s mother, Shari, said the support she has received since the accident has been tremendous.
“It’s been so uplifting,” she said.
Many words of encouragement have been posted on Addleman’s Facebook page, and she has heard from staff members and coaches at Cascade Christian.
Starting his senior year, Addleman worked detailing cars. His dad, Chris, said Cameron’s first job was for Kia of Puyallup.
Shari said he worked at two different shops. She also remembered he fixed up his first car when he was 16 and “learned how it worked.”
Without any experience, Addleman eventually landed a job to sell cars at Tacoma Nissan.
“He was fascinated by sales,” Shari said. “He loved getting to know people. He did beautifully.”
“What he lacked in experience, he made up in drive and motivation,” Chris said.
“He was just an amazingly driven young man,” his dad added. “Success was always something he strove for.”
He recalled his son as being witty and compassionate. And there was Cameron’s infectious smile.
Cameron’s interest in sports began early with T-ball as a boy. He played other sports throughout the years. At Cascade Christian, Addleman participated in the football, basketball, golf, and baseball programs, Shari said.
“He was a great kid and very well-liked by all his teammates and coaches,” Cougars boys basketball coach Jerry Williams said.
Chris said Cameron chose not to play sports during his senior year so he could work.
His family moved to Puyallup from Charleston, S.C., when Cameron was 2. They eventually moved to McChord Air Force Base, and then moved back to Puyallup. He most recently was living in a Tacoma apartment with his mother.
Cameron attended Concordia Lutheran School through seventh grade, and then he transferred to Cascade Christian as an eighth-grader.
“Cascade was a very good place for Cameron,” Shari said.
Besides sports, Cameron enjoyed music and art. Shari said Lori Lidyard, an art teacher at Cascade Christian, was a “profound” person in her son’s life.
“She fostered the creative side of Cameron,” Shari said.
Classmate and friend Alex Glaze remembered being in an art class with Cameron.
“Cameron, Axel (Johnson) and I would paint my guitar case about once every two weeks,” Glaze said. “Cameron did some graffiti on it. He must have spent about a week working on it, mixing colors and painting the whole thing while I played music.”
Senior class adviser Mandy Curry remembered Cameron designed the senior sweatshirt.
“He was in process of designing it when we had to turn it in to be printed,” Curry said, “so it wasn’t finished to his liking. It took the entire class telling him his design was great before he would let me OK it to be printed. Even after that, he was still finding things about the design that he thought he could have done better. That was just him, always so encouraging to everyone around him, but so very critical of his own talent.”
Shari said her son liked to perform random acts of kindness. Occasionally if he was at Starbucks, he would buy coffee for the person behind him in line.
“That’s my son,” Chris said with pride.
He recalled that Cameron and Shari spent part of Christmas Day serving food at a rescue mission.
“He was a very compassionate person,” Chris said. “He was so full of life, joy.”
Chris served in the U.S. Air Force.
“Cameron grew up to be a man well before his age,” his father said. “I could not be more proud of him. He managed to hold it all together.”
Cameron was beginning to put focus into his life, his mom said.
“He was starting to talk about his future, thinking about going back to school,” Shari said. “He was processing about what to do next. He had focus. He had his whole life ahead of him. He was making plans.”
One was to move out on his own, Shari said. They had started to talk about him moving into an apartment with a friend.
Cameron was following in his dad’s footsteps by starting a DJ business. He had bought several pieces of equipment and was looking forward to turning 21 next December so he could work in nightclubs.
“He was so excited to show me his stuff,” Chris said. “He wanted to learn how to be a good DJ.”
Chris had worked as a DJ at weddings and other special events but now limits his engagements to functions with family and friends.
“He was trying to find his niche, his thing,” Chris said.
On the night of the accident Cameron had told his mom he was going out with some friends and probably would not be home that night. He gave her a hug before he left the apartment.
He was on his way home, not too far away from the apartment, when he crashed.
Tacoma police officer Loretta Cool said the department received a report at about 2:40 a.m. of a recklessly driven vehicle, and a patrol officer responded to investigate. While searching for the car, the officer came upon the accident at North 1st and Tacoma Avenue.
The patrolman reported the car was burning and debris littered the area, Cool said.
The responding officer attempted to put out the fire with an extinguisher, but police said it did little good. The officer then called for the Tacoma Fire Department to respond.
Cool said the patrolman wasn’t able to approach the car, identified as a 2002 Acura, because of the extent of the fire.
Tacoma Police said witnesses estimated the car was traveling in excess of 100 mph. Reports said Addelman took a curve in the road too wide and struck two parked cars. The back end of the Acura swung around and hit a power pole.
The car then “exploded into flames,” Cool said.
She did not know if Addelman was wearing a seatbelt, but she said when authorities arrived, Addelman he was still sitting in the driver’s seat. Medical crews declared him dead at the scene.
“I am grateful no one else was hurt,” Shari said.
Cameron was an only child.
A celebration of life memorial service was held Saturday at Puyallup’s Foursquare Church.
“I want it to be about whom he loved and how he touched people,” Shari said.Tom McCrady is a freelance reporter for the Herald.