One teenager was killed and another seriously injured Saturday night when the van in which they were riding veered into a ravine near a popular party spot.
All five of the teens in the van were ejected as it rolled eight to 10 times down a ravine at Signal Point Mountain, Idaho State Police said. Police, who expect to file charges in the crash, said the teens apparently had been drinking.
Nineteen-year-old Robert J. Reid, believed to be from Orange County, Calif., died at the scene. Passers-by attempted to revive him with cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but couldn’t. He died of massive internal injuries, said Jody DeLuca, Kootenai County’s chief deputy coroner.
The van’s driver, Neil H. Nash, 17, of Post Falls, suffered broken vertebrae and a torn liver, according to his grandfather, Marvin Tyacke.
Nash was listed in fair condition Sunday afternoon at Kootenai Medical Center.
“They were going to camp out overnight,” said Tyacke. “I don’t know what happened. The van went off the side and rolled and rolled and rolled. It tore the van in two.”
The other three passengers were Brandi L. Waltman, 17, of Post Falls; Robert C. Olson, 18, of Post Falls; and Eric Kelley, 18, of Orange County, Calif. All suffered bruises and lacerations.
Waltman is a senior at Post Falls High School. Olson is a senior at New Visions Alternative School. Nash is a high school graduate working as a cabinetmaker. Police said Kelly and Reid arrived in Post Falls a week ago to visit their friend Nash.
While driving, Nash apparently was distracted momentarily, said state police Corp. Eric Mescher. A front wheel of the van went over the edge of the dirt road. The van came to rest 125 yards down the ravine, propped against a tree. Mescher said none of the five wore a seat belt.
“Robert thinks he went out the door, but he’s not sure,” said Robert Olson’s mother, Lisa Olson. Reid was riding in the back of the van, she said.
The other teens apparently crawled or walked to the top of the ravine and flagged down a passing truck.
Parents contacted Sunday said they weren’t sure what the five were doing at the mountain.
“They were coming home, that’s all I know,” said Pat Waltman, Brandi Waltman’s mother. “Kids are always up there.”
Signal Point Mountain is about seven miles southwest of Post Falls. Mescher said it’s a common party spot because its public land with a spectacular 360-degree view of the night sky.
There was a strong odor of alcohol near the wreckage of the van, Mescher said.
“Alcohol was involved,” he said. “An officer at the scene told me there were numerous beer bottles strewn about the scene.”
Mescher said charges are pending in the case, but declined to elaborate, pending further investigation.