DUVALL, Wash. - A community is mourning the loss of a 16-year-old who died after crashing his car on the way home from the last day of the school year.
Josh Ward was driving a white Honda Civic eastbound on NE Big Rock Road when he lost control, skidded sideways, and was broadsided by a Jeep heading the other way, said King County Sheriff's investigators. They add that wet roads were a contributing factor to the crash.
Josh was transported to Harborview Medical Center, where he later died.
The driver of the Jeep, a young woman, was transported to Evergreen Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, said sheriff's investigators.
Cedarcrest High School student Melissa Taft remembers the last thing Josh said to her.
"Right before he left school, he gave me a hug, said 'Bye Melissa, I'll see you later... have a good summer and we'll hang out really soon,'" she said.
Instead, she and several of Josh's other friends found themselves spending their first moments of summer vacation stopping to pay respects at the crash site.
"He treated everyone with utmost respect and he deserves the best," said Taft.
As a sophomore, Josh was a varsity athlete in wrestling and track.
"He had this big rival with this good senior this year and he tied him about four times," said incoming senior Tim Hagreen, who was to be Josh's wrestling captain. "I was just looking forward to seeing him next year."
"Cross-country superstar, he was really fast," added Taft.
Neighbors say the blind curve at the 29500 block of NE Big Rock Road is already dangerous.
"During the rainy season I would say on average there's one accident a month, though none was ever as serious as this," said D.J. Carlson, who lives nearby and helped the victims after the crash. "I just would really like to rally others to get that corner fixed so no other tragedies have to happen."