PORT ORCHARD — The Kitsap County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the victims in a fatal crash in Port Orchard Monday night as 18-year-old Rebekah Barrett and 17-year-old Shanaia Bennett.
The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office said a third 17-year-old female rear-seat passenger was taken to Tacoma General Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Robert Rundquist, the 20-year-old driver of a pickup truck investigators believe was racing the Camry, has been arrested and will be booked on vehicular homicide and reckless driving charges.
Friends of the victims said Rundquist and Barrett were dating each other. Both their Facebook pages identify that they were “in a relationship.”
Although the investigation is in its early stages it appears that around 9:40 p.m. Monday, the Toyota Camry driven by Barrett was traveling northbound on Baby Doll Road SE in Port Orchard, approaching the intersection with Lasalle Street, at a very high rate of speed. The driver of the Camry applied its brakes as it came up on an SUV that also was traveling northbound ahead of her.
At that point the Camry began to skid and the driver lost control of the car, police said. The vehicle ultimately went off of the roadway to the left and struck a large tree before coming to a rest in the west side drainage ditch.
Both the driver and the 17-year-old female front seat passenger suffered massive injuries and died at the scene. Witnesses reported that the Camry appeared to have been racing with a 1997 Toyota pick-up truck prior to the collision.
The truck was actually ahead of the SUV that the Camry had to brake for prior to collision. This truck stopped immediately and its driver returned to the collision scene to try to help the Camry’s occupants.
The truck and Camry were reported to be passing each other multiple times at high rates of speed while heading northbound on Baby Doll Road. At one point, witnesses saw the two vehicles traveling side by side at speeds well in excess of the posted 35 mph speed limit.
The driver of the Toyota pick-up truck was ultimately taken into custody for two counts of vehicular homicide based on the reckless driving racing as a contributor to the collision. He was booked into the Kitsap County Jail with bail set at $250,000.
Baby Doll Road was closed for approximately six hours while sheriff’s traffic unit deputies investigated the crash. Alcohol or drugs do not appear to be factors in this collision; excessive vehicle speeds certainly played a role.
The Superintendent’s office at South Kitsap School District sent a letter home to parents Tuesday, saying they were “shocked and saddened by the events.” It also encouraged parents to talk to their students about potential sadness and grief they could be feeling with the loss.
Only one of the deceased was a former student of South Kitsap.
Persons who may have information about this crash are asked to contact Deputy Michael Shannon, sheriff’s traffic unitat 360- 337-4634.