DUI sign put up on anniversary of death of two Forks girls

FORKS — About 50 people gathered on the shoulder of U.S. Highway 101 to watch a memorial sign go up on the first anniversary of two Forks girls’ deaths.

The sign erected on Monday says, “Please do not drink and drive. In memory of Kassi Hansen and Naomi Price.”

Kassandra Hansen, 17, and Naomi Price, 18, both of Forks, died on March 2, 2008, after the car they were traveling in veered off the highway and rolled three times.

Both were ejected from the passenger window in the early-morning crash on Highway 101 near its intersection with Whitcomb-Diimmel Road north of Forks.

Also in the 2006 Ford Fusion was Jonathan R. Fletcher, 19, who suffered a dislocated shoulder and internal injuries.

Fletcher was released from Harborview Medical Center within a couple of weeks of the wreck.

The State Patrol determined that all three teens had been drinking and that Price, who owned the car, was driving at the time of the wreck, said Trooper Krista Hedstrom, agency spokeswoman.

None of the three were wearing seat belts, Hedstrom said.

She declined to release the alcohol levels in the toxicology report.

Hansen was in the passenger seat and Fletcher was in the back seat, Hedstrom said.

Effort began in October

Hansen’s mother, Kayla Hansen, had begun the effort to have the sign erected in October.

“I originally wanted to have it up during the holidays so her brothers and sisters could see it go up during their holiday vacations,” she said.

Ultimately that didn’t work out, and Kayla said that a group she meets with — Compassionate Friends in Sequim — suggested doing something on the anniversary of her daughter’s death.

“At first I wasn’t sure I wanted that permanent reminder every day on the road,” Kayla Hansen said.

“But I have to think that Kassi would be really proud of this.

“I don’t know that this will change whatever choice that teenagers make, but I want them reminded because they make mistakes all the time.”

The DUI Victims Panel in Clallam County donated half the money to pay for the sign, and the Hansen family paid for the rest, Kayla Hansen said.

“Before I had even written my check, they had sent one over,” she said.

“They were really good to work with.

“We then asked the Price family if they wanted to include Naomi as well — I think that is what Kassi would have wanted.”

Driving Under the Influence memorial signs are $500 to put up in that area, the state Department of Transportation states on its Web site.

“I’m sure that Kassi would be honored to know how many people loved her,” Kayla said.

“I think she knew she was making a mistake by getting into that car and that she would want others to learn from that.”

Hansen, a senior at Forks High School, played fast-pitch softball and was involved in 4-H.

Price was a 2007 graduate of Forks High School who was attending Linn-Benton Community College in Albany, Ore., taking prerequisite courses for dental assistant school.

Fletcher was also a senior at Forks High School at the time of the crash.

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Reporter Paige Dickerson can be reached at 360-417-3535 or at paige.dickerson@peninsuladailynews.com.

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