Josie Freier and McKenzie Mott dead and Preston Maher injured in crash on S Bates Rd in Spokane Valley on Oct 5

Modified Date: 
Mon, 01/26/2015 - 3:46pm
Accident Date: 
Friday, October 4, 2013

The driver of a car that crashed into a tree Oct. 5, killing two University High School girls, had his license for one day.

Donated toys piled up on a table in the Spokane Valley Fire Department administration building, but Rick Freier was looking at the picture of his daughter, Josie, that sat in the middle.

Students at University High School in Spokane Valley are mourning the deaths of two girls in a crash.

The teenage girls, Josie Freier and McKenzie Mott, were riding Saturday night in a car driven by a friend, Preston Maher, 16, news reports show.

The Spokane Valley teenager charged in the deaths of two University High School classmates is expected to take a plea deal on Thursday according to family of one of the teenage victims. 

The two University High School girls were killed Oct. 5 when the car driven by the 16-year-old went out of control on a stretch of road known as the Ponderosa Jump and crashed into a tree. Investigators estimated his car was speeding at close to 70 miles per hour.

On Wednesday, October 1, under the lights at University High School, the Titans remembered their fallen forward McKenzie Mott. 

Several hundred friends and family gathered to honor Josie Freier and McKenzie Mott at a candlelight vigil Sunday night. The girls were killed in a car crash one year ago Sunday. 

Preston Maher, 16, is now under investigation for vehicular homicide. Josie Freier, 15, and McKenzie Mott, 16, died in the accident at South Bates Road and East Ponderosa Drive in Spokane Valley. Maher told friends at a party that he intended to speed along Bates and catch air on what teens call the “Ponderosa Jump,” the top of a steep hill at the Ponderosa intersection. Maher drove at freeway speeds in the residential area. As he steered around a curve at the base of the hill, he lost control of the vehicle and drove into a tree in a ditch. All three teens were wearing seat belts, and alcohol has been ruled out as a factor. “All the elements are falling in line,” Chamberlin said. “That doesn’t mean he’s going to be charged.” Deputies were unfamiliar with the jump before the accident. As a new driver, Maher was not allowed by state law to have anyone else in his car other than family members for six months.

What money damages are recoverable in a death claim?

Every death from an accident is tragic. When a death is the result of someone else’s negligence, certain survivors may make a wrongful death claim against those responsible. Close relatives may recover monetary damages for the loss of financial support, as well as for medical, funeral, and burial expenses, lost earnings, and in some cases for pain, suffering, and loss of love and affection. Learn more about wrongful death claims here…

Type: Car Accident
People Involved: 
Josie Freier
McKenzie Mott
Preston Maher

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More reports from our archive:

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Around 10 p.m. Saturday night, Nikole Josephine "Josie" Booth, 15, was driving an SUV on I-64 when she lost control of the vehicle. The SUV rolled multiple times, ejecting Booth, who was not wearing a seatbelt. Booth was transported to Charleston Area Medical Center where she later died. Her 16-year-old passenger was also transported to CAMC with non-life-threatening injuries.


Saturday, October 4, 2014

27-year-old William Cody Murphy was killed when his motorcycle and a car collided in the East Broadway Avenue and North Burns Road area of Spokane Valley, WA. The woman driving the car was not seriously injured.

The Spokane region is growing rapidly in population, and with this growth comes an increase in accidents, injuries, and deaths from collisions. Learn more here about Spokane motorcycle accidents.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

At about 7:00am, a train engineer blew the whistle and activate the emergency brakes to avoid hitting a woman that was on the tracks. The woman did not move however, and the train could not slow down in time, leaving the woman to be struck and killed. Check back for updates.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Jamie Garcia, a 21-year-old graduate of Fenton High School, was struck and killed by a car as he was walking on Hickory Ridge Road. Police are still searching for the person responsible for his death. The incident is still under investigation.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Union City is mourning the loss of an eighth-grader who died in a car crash Friday.

The school district canceled its basketball games Friday night after Preston Williams died.

Williams, a student-athlete, died in a crash on Evans Street near Highway 152. Two other students were injured in the single-car wreck.

There will be a candlelight vigil at the Union City baseball field tonight and a funeral Wednesday at a church in Mustang, according to The Minco-Union City Times.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The 86-year-old man who drove into the back of a school bus that had stopped to pick up students in Bullitt County Friday morning has died.

The wreck at Preston Highway and Belmont Road — just east of Fort Knox — occured at about 6:30 a.m., according to Bullitt County Schools district spokesman Eric Farris. Eleven students on the bus were transported to Jewish Hospital South and released, Farris said. The identity or condition of the bus driver was not immediately available, Farris said, but he noted everyone on the bus appeared to be uninjured.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Alejandro Apodaca, 34, was identified by the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office. His death has been ruled an accident. The Nissan Altima that Apodaca was driving was traveling south on Bowdish Road near 17th Avenue and left the street, colliding with the tree around 11:55 p.m. Thursday. When medics arrived, the lone occupant, Apodaca, was unresponsive and declared dead at the scene. Investigators were on-scene this morning attempting to determine the cause of the crash. Preliminary indications point to speed as a factor.