Unlicensed 15-year-old was driver in fatal crash, officials say

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WALLA WALLA — The youngest of three teens killed in a single-vehicle crash Sunday was the driver, and apparently only one of the three was wearing a seat belt, according to an update on the investigation released Wednesday.

Killed were Walla Walla High School students Athena Bentley, 15; Uziel Bermoy, 16; and Aidan Boede, 17.

A news release issued jointly by the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s and Coroner's offices identified Bentley as the driver of the blue 2005 Dodge Neon when it went off Mill Creek Road near Seven Mile Road. There was no indication she was wearing a seat belt, nor did she have a driver’s license.

Boede was in the back seat and also was apparently not wearing a seat belt, according to the release

Bermoy was riding in the front passenger seat and evidence indicates he was wearing a seat belt. The car was registered to Bermoy’s father.

Deputies found the car resting on its top at about 3 a.m. Sunday. Autopsies were performed Tuesday and determined that the three died instantly from blunt-force injuries to the head and upper body.

Chief Deputy John King said this morning that the results of toxicology reports and expert crash scene analysis may shed more light on whether alcohol was a factor and how fast the car was traveling.

It remains unclear why the three teens were in the Mill Creek area that night or exactly when the crash occurred.

King said a deputy had stopped to help motorist with a flat tire in the Russell Creek Road area at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday. The stranded driver told the deputy his tire was punctured by debris in the roadway near where the crash took place. The Neon’s wreckage was not discovered by deputies until 3 a.m., due in part to the location of the car, darkness and ground cover.

Luke Hegdal can be reached at lukehegdal@wwub.com or 526-8326.

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