Girl, 17, killed in car crash on way to school

A 17-year-old Tenino girl was killed Monday morning when the SUV she was driving was struck in its side by a van, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The driver, Spencer Ford, died instantly and her 13-year-old sister, McKinlee Ford, received a broken arm and was transported to a local hospital, trooper Brandy Kessler said.

The collision occurred at 8:05 a.m. as Spencer Ford turned from Violet Prairie Road onto Old Highway 99. The sisters were on their way to school.

“She (Spencer) was pulling out from Violet Prairie Road and pulled in front of a box-style type van,” Kessler said.

The girls’ parents heard the crash and arrived on scene soon after, Kessler said.

An investigation revealed that Spencer Ford was not wearing a seat belt. However, restraint would not have influenced her condition, Kessler said.

McKinlee Ford was using a seat belt. The driver of the van was not injured.

Grief counselors were called to Tenino High School. Jeff Zenisek, the school’s athletic director and football coach, described it as a “solemn” day.

“She was a great gal, a very popular girl,” Zenisek said. “It took its toll on everyone. It’s one of those things you never want to see happen.”

Ford was a well-known student-athlete, having played soccer, basketball and fastpitch. She was a four-year varsity midfielder on the Beavers’ girls soccer team, and Zenisek said the soccer players had a meeting after school with first-year coach Anwar Wilson.

“She was a great, great person,” Zenisek said of Ford. “At the drop of a hat, she would help you out.”

As a result of Monday’s tragedy, today’s girls soccer and volleyball contests – varsity and junior varsity – between Tenino and Rochester high schools have been postponed. No makeup dates have been announced. The boys and girls cross-country dual meet today at Kalama will begin at 4 p.m. as scheduled, Zenisek said.