Racing blamed in crash that killed 2 teen girls

The Associated Press and The GatewayDecember 18, 2013 

A car and a pickup truck were racing and passing each other at high speed Monday night when the car crashed near Port Orchard, killing two teenage girls and injuring a third.

The two victims were identified as Shanaia R. Bennett, 17, of Gig Harbor and Rebbekah Barrett, 18, of South Kitsap County.

Barrett, the driver, and Bennett, the front-seat passenger, died at the scene after their car went out of control and hit a tree, according to the Kitsap County sheriff’s office. A 17-year-old rear seat passenger has been taken to Tacoma General Hospital and is expected to survive.

The driver of the pickup truck stopped after the crash and tried to help, sheriff’s deputies said. He was jailed on two counts of vehicular homicide. Bail is set at $250,000.

Law enforcement officers arrived at 9:47 p.m. and pronounced the two victims dead.

The crash was caused by speed well in excess of the 35 mph posted limit, investigators said. Witnesses estimated the racing vehicles were traveling between 50 and 80 miles an hour.

Barrett was driving the car when she braked to avoid an SUV, went into the oncoming lane and crashed into a tree, said Scott Wilson of the Sheriff’s Department. The pickup truck was ahead of the SUV when the wreck occurred.

Bennett was a senior at Henderson Bay High School in Gig Harbor, said Kathy Weymiller of the Peninsula School District. A transfer student from Port Orchard, she also attended Goodman Middle School. Barrett attended Crosspoint Academy in Bremerton.

Henderson Bay principal Dave Goodwin sent a message to parents on Tuesday, saying the school had “lost one of (the) family.” Information on dealing with grief was sent home to students and grief counselors will be available Thursday, the message said.

Gateway staff writer Karen Miller contributed to this report.

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