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  • 21 Oct 2014

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Two teens killed in Petes Mountain crash

Community mourns loss of 18-year-old Hayden Soyk, 17-year-old Maddi Higgins


by: TIDINGS PHOTO: PATRICK MALEE - A memorial was set up at the crash site on Petes Mountain Road.Two West Linn teenagers were killed in a single-car crash Sunday evening on Petes Mountain Road.

Hayden Soyk, 18, and Maddi Higgins, 17, were driving Sunday when their vehicle struck a power pole on SW Petes Mountain Road at 5:17 p.m.

According to a press release from the Clackamas County Sheriff’s office, the vehicle was sheared in half on impact. Witness statements and evidence at the scene indicated that speed was the primary factor in the crash, though the accident remains under investigation.

Crews worked for several hours to extricate Soyk and Higgins from the vehicle.

Soyk, who was the driver, died at the scene, according to the sheriff’s office.

Higgins, who took longer to get out due to significant damage to the vehicle, was taken via Life Flight helicopter to a Portland hospital. She was taken off life support and died late Monday night.

In a statement released to the media, WLHS Principal Lou Bailey asked for privacy.

“We recognize that some of you may have heard more about this situation, but out of our deep respect, we are allowing these families the privacy that they need at this time to deal with their grief,” Bailey said.by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Students, parents, teachers and community members gathered at the West Linn High School football field Monday night for a vigil.

According to Bailey, the school established a number of “safe” rooms, with members of the school district’s Flight Crisis Team and other counselors on hand to provide support to students and staff.

In the midst of finals week, Bailey and school administrators also met several times to discuss whether any schedule or testing changes were necessary. In the end, the schedule remained the same — with three half days starting Wednesday — but Bailey left it up to teachers to decide how to handle testing.

“Every teacher may have different options within a class,” Bailey said. “We want to finish school, and we want to give teachers permission to teach and finish the school year as we should, with some flexibility for kids.

“Everybody is readjusting and making some (tests) optional. ... It might be some kind of activity, versus a quiet test.”

The overarching goal, Bailey said, was to relieve stress in any way possible for grieving students.

“I’ve been hearing in the community that kids are stressed about finals — I’ve been trying to relieve that stress,” Bailey said. “You have some kids who need the structure, they need this school to keep going in order for them to get through the tragedy ... we have to be adaptable and flexible for all kids.”

The West Linn City Council and West Linn-Wilsonville School Board each canceled their regularly scheduled meetings Monday.

Two vigils were held Monday — one at WLHS and another later in the evening at Island Sam’s restaurant in West Linn, where Soyk worked.

Students also gathered outside the school at sunrise Tuesday morning.

Soyk graduated WLHS last year and was a student at Clackamas Community College.

On Sunday night, a statement on the restaurant’s Facebook page read, “There are few words that can express the loss West Linn experienced tonight. Hayden was always smiling. He loved his family, his friends and his job.”

An online fundraiser was created Tuesday to honor Higgins’ memory and love of flowers. Organizers set a goal of $1,500 to pay for flowers at her funeral; by the end of the day, donations already totaled $1,917. Donate at gofundme.com/a5h3ec.

Review reporter Kate Hoots contributed to this story.