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Shocking Snohomish County teens to be safer drivers

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By Katya Yefimova
Herald Writer
EVERETT — A small crowd outside the Everett Civic Auditorium on Monday evening watched a tow truck haul a crumpled pile of black steel and lower it into a parking space.
It was Mason Derrick’s car.
Derrick, a 19-year-old Stanwood man who had recently joined the Army, was killed Dec. 27 when he lost control of his Acura sedan on 15th Avenue NE near Bryant. Police said he was driving more than 85 mph in a 35 mph zone, and had been smoking marijuana.
Just before the crash, Derrick’s four teenage passengers screamed at him to slow down. All four were seriously hurt. One of them is paralyzed from the neck down.
On Monday, Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives gathered several dozen teens and their parents for a seminar on teen driving safety, one of many the sheriff’s office has organized over the years.
Austin Bentley, 17, a student at Kamiak High School, came with his mother, Allyson Coleman. Austin said he been in two car wrecks during the past year.
“When your kids start driving, it’s always on your mind,” Coleman said.
The seminar, called “Driving it Home,” is designed to show teens the importance of driving safely — and what can happen if they don’t.
Car collisions are the leading cause of death for teenagers around the country. With graduation parties coming up, detectives hope the seminar served to remind young people to put safety first.
Between 2004 and 2008, 91 people died in Snohomish County in crashes involving drivers 16 to 25 years old, according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.
But statistics rarely impress teen drivers, detective Doug Gold said. That’s why, during the seminar, mothers of Snohomish County kids who lost their lives in car wrecks came on stage to drive it home.
One young man was speeding. Another, drunk. A third, an innocent passenger in a car where the driver was in a hurry.
People in the audience wiped away tears as they heard their stories.
When Grant Fosheim came up to talk, everyone became quiet. The young man wept all the way through his speech.
Feb. 23, 2003, was a beautiful, sunny Sunday, and Fosheim, then 20, wanted to get out of the house. He went to a barbecue at a friend’s house in north Everett. He drank. The last thing he remembers from that evening was a friend asking if he wanted onions on his burger.
He got in his 1994 Ford Mustang and raced a friend down Wetmore Avenue at almost 100 mph. At 23rd Street, he hit a van, killing the driver and his own two young passengers.
Fosheim spent his 21st birthday in a maximum-security prison. Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Linda Krese sentenced him to more than six years behind bars.
“The rest of your life should be an atonement,” Krese said at the sentencing.
Since Fosheim got out of prison last year, he has been telling his story to other young people.

Teenagers don’t realize how profoundly their actions can affect others, he said on Monday.
“I thought I was invincible,” Fosheim said. But because of what I did, there was a ripple effect on the community.”

Katya Yefimova: 425-339-3452,
Learn more
The next seminar is scheduled for September. To learn more, call detective Doug Gold at 425-388-5437.
Story tags » ArlingtonEverettDUI

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