A Kamiakin High School senior died when his all-terrain vehicle overturned as he descended a hillside near the Whitman County town of Hay on Friday evening.
Aric “Cooper” Ellison, 18, died of positional asphyxiation after being pinned beneath a heavy ATV, said Whitman County Coroner Peter J. Martin. Hay is about 100 miles northeast of the Tri-Cities.
Counselors will be available at Kamiakin on Oct. 17 to meet with grieving students and staff, the Kennewick School District said.
The coroner said Ellison was on a hunting trip with his father and other friends when he left base camp to call his girlfriend. He took an ATV up a steep slope to find a cellphone signal. When he didn’t return to base camp, his family investigated and found him.
The coroner said the accident occurred when Ellison was descending the hillside after finishing his call. He was descending slowly, but the ATV rolled. He was not wearing the ATV’s seatbelt and was ejected. The vehicle came to rest on top of him.
Ellison was a student athlete who played basketball and baseball for Kamiakin. Friends held a private vigil Sunday evening.