Coroner: Unlicensed teen was driver in fatal Walla Walla crash

Tri-City HeraldMay 28, 2014 

— A Walla Walla girl driving without a license was speeding when she lost control of a Dodge Neon, killing her and two other teens over Memorial Day weekend, according to investigators.

The three teens -- Aidan Boede, 17, Uziel Bermoy, 16 and Athena Bentley, 15 -- were pronounced dead early Sunday morning after the car rolled on Mill Creek Road in Walla Walla County.

All the teens were students at Walla Walla High School, officials said.

Autopsy reports released Wednesday helped confirm Bentley was driving the car and only one of the teens was wearing a seat belt, said Coroner Richard Greenwood.

Bentley, who was not wearing a seat belt, was partially thrown from the car and died shortly after the crash, Greenwood said. Bermoy and Boede likely died instantly.

Bermoy was sitting in the front passenger seat and was buckled in during the crash, Greenwood said. Boede was in the back seat and was not wearing a seat belt.

It could be weeks before toxicology results are released. There are no indications the teens were under the influence, Greenwood said. The car was registered to Bermoy's father.

Walla Walla Sheriff John Turner and Greenwood have both released statements calling the crash tragic and offering condolences to the teens' families.

Turner did not return phone calls Wednesday about the investigation.

The Walla Walla Union Bulletin reports Walla Walla High and schools in College Place, where Bermoy went to elementary and middle school, have offered grief counseling to students.

"It is a day of deep sadness for the entire Valley to lose three young vibrant students," said Tim Payne, superintendent of College Place Public Schools.

-- Tyler Richardson: 582-1556; trichardson@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @Ty_richardson

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