CALGARY — Four friends in a fiery crash that killed two of them just wanted to have a fun road trip to celebrate graduation, says a father, who pleaded with them to stay closer to home.
A Honda CRV carrying 18-year-olds Lena Elliott, Ben Harms, Mikelle Hendrickson and Kylie Doxtater from Calgary went off the road, down a ravine and crashed into trees near Olympia, Wash., on Sunday night.
Hendrickson and Doxtater were killed and Elliott and Harms, who remain in Washington hospitals, were critically injured.
Elliott’s dad, Danny Elliott, said he begged his daughter to make it a local trip.
“They just wanted to have a road trip to California,” he said in a telephone interview from her hospital room.
“I begged them to go to Banff and go camping, but when they’re 18 and they just graduated Grade 12, they wanted to have a road trip.”
Elliott was sitting in the front passenger seat of the SUV while Harms drove. She has a broken back and neck, but will survive, although it will be a long recovery, her father said.
“Lena has lots of goals, (such as) going to university. Now her goal is wake up and walk.”
Before sending him to hospital, police arrested Harms on charges of vehicular assault, which might be upgraded to vehicular homicide. Officers say they suspect drugs may have been involved.
“It just looks like Ben went to sleep,” Danny Elliot said. “If it turns out he was (under the influence), you bet he should be charged.”