Gateway: News

GHHS student dies in single-car crash

A 16-year-old Gig Harbor driver died Friday night in a single-car crash that occurred in the 10300 block of Kopachuck Drive N.W.

The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s office identified the dead boy as Karl A. Severson of Gig Harbor. Severson was a student at Gig Harbor High School.

Students took to social media to express their grief. The Gig Harbor High School leadership asked students to wear blue in honor of Severson.

“Our thoughts are with Karl Severson and his family today; please stay safe Tides. Time to come together in love and support #TideFamily,” said the Roll Tide Twitter account, @GHHSLeadership.

Other students used the hashtag #RIPKarl to honor Severson.

GHHS football player and student Kyle Olson-Urbon tweeted a picture of a hawaiian print hat and a blue hooded sweatshirt sitting on a desk.

“This seat once was occupied by a guy that could change the mood of a room in seconds from bad to good. #RIPKarl,” Olson-Urbon tweeted.

Many tweets on the hashtag expressed disbelief at the sudden loss of Severson’s life. Peninsula High School students also expressed condolences on Twitter, saying losing a GHHS student was like losing a member of the PHS class.

Counselors visited Gig Harbor High School Monday morning to work with students grieving the death of their classmate. Additional counseling is available.

Pierce County Sheriff’s reports said Severson was driving southbound and failed to negotiate a curve to the left. His vehicle ran off the right side of the road and struck a tree.

The boy was the only occupant of the car, according to the report. Police were investigating whether speed or alcohol played a role in the crash. Reports noted that an open case of beer and an open bottle of liquor were found inside the car.

Severson attended Voyager Elementary School, Kopachuck Middle School and Gig Harbor High School, school district spokesperson Kathy Weymiller said. Weymiller said the district was sad to lose Severson and sends condolences to his family.

Items were left at a memorial for Severson at the site of the crash. Among them was a roster for a Peninsula Youth Football team in 2010 listing Severson. There was also a ski pole and helmet.