A Sandpoint High School junior died Sunday of injuries suffered in a car wreck.
Kenneth G. Stafford, 17, was thrown from a car when it slid off Baldy Mountain Road in Sandpoint shortly after 8:30 p.m. Saturday. His neck was broken, and he never regained consciousness.
The 1984 Datsun sedan was driven by 18-year-old Talea L. Morgan of Sagle. She was taken to Bonner General Hospital and treated for a concussion and ear lacerations.
Another passenger, Jacob S. Maurer, 17, of Sandpoint, was listed in stable condition at Bonner General Hospital Sunday. The Idaho State Police said he suffered a broken leg and minor injuries.
The three had left Stafford’s home only minutes before. Morgan said Sunday they planned to go fishing, then to a friend’s home to watch a movie.
“I said ‘OK, drive careful,”’ said Stafford’s mother, Mona Stafford. “Then they went off down the road.”
The crash occurred on a curve. Morgan said she entered the curve about 35 miles an hour, with a maximum of about 45, if that. The speed limit on the road is 35.
As it rounded the curve, Morgan said, the car hit a gravel-filled pothole, then fishtailed off the road.
It plunged down an embankment, hitting two large trees. One ripped off the passenger-side door and Stafford flew out. None of the three was wearing a seat belt, according to the Idaho State Police.
A neighbor called the Staffords to tell them of the crash three-quarters of a mile down the road. Kenneth Stafford was taken to Kootenai Medical Center while workers pried open the wrecked car to remove the other two youths.
Stafford was pronounced dead at 9:30 a.m. His organs were donated.
“He would have wanted that,” said Mona Stafford.
Her son was an avid hunter and angler, often heading down to the marshes around Sandpoint to build a fire and fish with friends. His mother said he was an expert flyfisherman, capable of casting a fly into a bucket set in the yard. He was teaching his mother how to cast.
He hoped to join the football team next year and also hoped to try bull riding, Mona Stafford said. He thought he might join the military after graduation.
He was friendly, and news of his death has hit his classmates hard, she said.
“Already, we’ve had lots of his friends calling and they’re devastated,” she said. “One minute he was here, the next minute he wasn’t.”