One day after a car accident took the lives of Carmen “Geno” Ross and Patrick Schindler, their families were left with more questions than answers.
Authorities say the 1988 Toyota Camry the teenagers were riding in crossed the center line on Bigelow Gulch Road between Argonne and Old Argonne Road and slammed into an oncoming pickup, killing the two teens on a rainy night.
The driver of the car, Ira Chastain, 16, was taken to Deaconess Medical Center and released Thursday afternoon. He suffered a separated shoulder and fractured ribs.
Karl McAllister, driver of the pickup, suffered minor injuries. Investigators said the air bag in his 1995 Ford pickup may have saved his life.
Details of the accident remain sketchy. Washington State Patrol detectives still are investigating, and it may be a few days before they determine what happened, said Sgt. Chris Powell.
“We’re in this ‘if’ stage,” said Ross’ grandfather, Geno.
What if it had not been raining? What if Chastain had not been driving? Why was Chastain driving Schindler’s car?
Jim Schindler said troopers told him Chastain had insisted on driving his son’s car and had to “twist Patrick’s arm to get the keys from him.”
Chastain could not be reached, and his family declined to comment.
On Thursday, family members and friends remembered Ross and Schindler, who knew each other through Chastain, as bright, easy-going teenagers.
Ross, a 16-year-old junior at Riverside High School, loved to go snowboarding, roller-blading and fishing.
Family members described him as a computer whiz.
“He was a good kid. He was an adventurer,” Geno Ross said. “If he could do it, he’d live on the edge.”
Schindler, 17, played basketball and baseball at Mount St. Michael Academy while maintaining a 3.5 grade point average.
He worked at Burger King on North Argonne, volunteered to work on numerous projects around the school and refereed YMCA basketball and football games.
Classes were canceled Thursday at Mount St. Michael, where Schindler had gone to school for nearly 12 years. Most students attended a special morning Mass for Schindler.
“He was a real rare kid, one of those who will always stand out in my mind,” said Louis Kerfoot, who oversees the high school grades at the academy. “He was one of those kids his classmates won’t forget.”
Funeral services for Schindler will be Monday at 9 a.m. at the Mount St. Michael chapel. Classes will be canceled for the day.
Services tentatively are planned for Ross on Monday morning in Riverside.
“You’re supposed to have the older folks go first,” said Geno Ross. “You’re not supposed to bury your baby.”
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