From left to right are Dezman Harper, Robert Young and Tharon Sluharty. All were involved in Sunday’s wreck at Lake Crescent.

From left to right are Dezman Harper, Robert Young and Tharon Sluharty. All were involved in Sunday’s wreck at Lake Crescent.

Massive injuries suffered by Federal Way family hit by falling tree near Lake Crescent

PORT ANGELES — Bella’s back is broken.

Her grandfather’s back is broken. Her grandmother was in a coma Tuesday. Her cousin is dead.

It looks like her 2-year-old cousin will pull through.

That’s the piled-up world the 5-year-old girl faces in the weeks ahead.

She was among five family members from Federal Way who were traveling in a vehicle on U.S. Highway 101 where it skirts Lake Crescent when the SUV was struck by a falling tree mid afternoon on New Year’s Day.

Family members were waiting Tuesday to find out if surgeries at Harborview Medical Center helped repair two of the survivors’ broken backs.

The grandmother, Julie K. Young, 50, was in the front seat.

She was in a coma Monday while her 2-year-old grandson, in the back seat, is expected to make a full recovery, said Alisha Marie Cartwright of Shoreline, a cousin.

Another grandson, Dezman L. Harper, 5, who was in the back seat behind his grandmother, died at the scene, authorities said.

The group was headed home to Federal Way after visiting a longtime friend in Clallam Bay for the holidays, said Cartwright’s father, Travis Cartwright, of Shoreline.

They were transported later Sunday from Olympic Medical Center to Harborview.

“The grandparents and grandkids were having fun,” said Denice Cartwright, Travis Cartwright’s wife. “It’s horrible.”

The four survivors remained in Harborview’s intensive care unit Tuesday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The Cartwrights gave the following information on the survivors’ conditions:

• Julie Young was unconscious when emergency responders wielding hydraulic equipment pulled her from the crushed SUV.

“She has not become conscious since the accident,” Travis Cartwright said. “They are just running tests to figure out what’s going on.”

The hospital spokeswoman said she remained in critical condition Tuesday.

• The driver, Robert Young, 51, a maintenance technician for an area school district, went through “several hours” of surgery Monday to repair multiple broken vertebrae, Travis Cartwright said, adding that Young also suffered a broken rib.

“We’ve got to wait for healing time to see how he comes out of it,” he said.

Young remained in serious condition Tuesday.

“I talked to him a little bit,” Cartwright said. “He was pretty distraught about his grandson.”

Cartwright did not know how mobile Young is.

• Isabella “Bella” R. Young, 5, had surgery for a broken back the day of the accident.

She is paralyzed from the waist down, Alisha Cartwright said.

She remained in serious condition Tuesday.

• Tharon L. Sluharty, 2, has had his breathing tube removed and is expected to make a full recovery, she said.

“Tharon is more in shock than anything,” Travis Cartwright said.

He was in serious condition Tuesday but could soon be upgraded from intensive care to an acute-care floor, the hospital spokeswoman said.

At least 20 family members live in the Shoreline-Federal Way area, Alisha Cartwright said.

“We all kind of live within 20 miles of each other,” she added.

GoFundMe sites to help with funeral and medical expenses are at Alisha Marie Cartwright’s Facebook page and at

“They are going to have some astronomical medical expenses,” Travis Cartwright said.

“You can plan for things, you can foresee things, but this kind of thing you can’t be prepared for.”

Agencies who responded to the fatality after the 2:16 p.m. Sunday emergency call included Clallam County Fire Districts 2 and 4, the State Patrol, the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office and the National Park Service.

The incident remains under investigation by the National Park Service, because it occurred inside Olympic National Park, and the State Patrol.


Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at

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