By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
Want more top stories? Sign up here for daily or weekly newsletters with our top news.
Kiana Renee Seierup, 16, whose body will be cremated, will be honored during a celebration of life open to the public from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at 510 N. Beech St. in Gales Addition, said Linda Williams, a friend of the Seierup family.
“Anyone who wants to celebrate Kiana is more than welcome,” Williams said Tuesday.
Bonfire and balloons
Betty Blevins, Kiana's aunt and one of the planners of the celebration of life, said the potluck celebration will end with a bonfire and messages for Kiana written on helium balloons and released into the sky.
“And wear bright, exciting, mismatched colors,” Blevins said, “because that's kind of how Kiana was.”
The 16-year-old was one of two people killed when a four-door sedan carrying a driver and three passengers left the road at about 9 p.m. Nov. 19 south of Ketchikan, Alaska, and struck a roadside rock, said Josh Dossett, deputy police chief of the Ketchikan Police Department, who would not identify the three minors involved.
Kiana's mother, Renee Priest Blevins, confirmed that her daughter died in the wreck.
Emergency responders arrived on scene to find that the 16-year-old — Kiana — who was the front-seat passenger, and 31-year-old April Arlend of Ketchikan, the presumed driver, had been ejected from the car, according to information from Dossett.
Arlend and Kiana were pronounced dead at the scene, Dossett said, while the backseat passengers, a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, were taken from the scene to Ketchikan General Hospital and eventually airlifted to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska, with serious injuries.
As of Thursday, the surviving 16-year-old and 14-year-old were not listed on the Providence Alaska Medical Center patient registry.
The cause of the wreck is under investigation, Dossett said, though police suspect speed and wet roads from evening rains may have been factors.
“From looking at [the incident], it looks like the driver was going way over the speed limit,” Dossett said.
Kiana was born in Ketchikan and grew up in Anchorage, Williams said, but moved to Port Angeles in 2008 with her mother and attended middle school in Port Angeles as well as Port Angeles High School.
Kiana moved back to Ketchikan in September to live with her father for a year, Williams said, and was attending Ketchikan High School as a sophomore.
Williams said Kiana enjoyed art and was particularly fond of drawing multicolored mushrooms.
“Everything was very bright,” Williams said. “'She was a free spirit' is how everyone described her.”
Betty Blevins said Kiana was always in good spirits and had a quirky smile on her face most of the time.
“She was just full of life. She was a bubbly, happy girl,” Blevins said. “I think her laugh is what I will miss the most.”
While at Port Angeles High, Kiana was enrolled in Peninsula College's Upward Bound program, which prepares eligible students for college and life after high school, said Tammy Napiontek, an administrative specialist with the program.
“Everything we do is about them going off to college and getting a degree,” Napiontek said.
Kiana enjoyed writing and art classes taken through the Upward Bound program, Napiontek said, and was particularly attracted to the Peninsula College campus, though Kiana had not yet developed concrete plans for her life after high school.
“She was really feeling her way as far as what future aspirations she might have had,” Napiontek said.
Napiontek said she remembered Kiana as a funny and sometimes shy teenager who had an infectious personality and a memorable smile.
“Kiana was always doing something quirky or funny with her smile,” Napiontek said. “That's probably the thing that comes to my mind the most about Kiana.”
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.