Highway tragedy claims teen

A traffic accident that claimed the life of a Greenbank teen Saturday has left this small community reeling.

Fifteen-year-old Tonya Scriven died Saturday afternoon after getting off the bus following a Christmas shopping excursion to Oak Harbor.

At approximately 5 p.m. she tried to cross the Highway 525 at Wonn Road. She was struck by a 1993 Geo Tracker being driven by Coupeville resident William Losey, who was determined not to be at fault. Scriven died at the scene.

Scriven’s father, Tim, described his daughter as a voracious reader who most enjoyed spending time with her siblings.

“She was always happy being with them,” Scriven said Monday. She was quiet and also interested in animals. She would often read books with an animal theme. She was set to celebrate not only Christmas but her 16th birthday in two weeks.

Her sister, Rachelle, said Tonya enjoyed going to the library and the two always had a good time playing on the beach.

“She could cheer you up by saying just a couple of things,” the 9-year-old said.

Tonya was a sophomore at South Whidbey High School. She spent the past 13 months helping an elementary school boy in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

Peggy Dyer, executive director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County, said a counselor met with the boy to tell him about the loss of his young mentor.

Preparations were made at South Whidbey High School to help students deal with Tonya’s death.

The school district’s crisis response team met early Monday morning to plan how to deal with the situation, said Rob Prosch, principal at South Whidbey High School.

He said many of the students heard the news Sunday through media reports, but several were caught off guard Monday morning.

Counselors from around the South Whidbey School District came to the high school to help students deal with the news. Prosch said a room was set aside where students could write letters of condolence to the Scriven family.

He said that staff members identified classmates who were close to Tonya and were speaking with each of those students directly.

Saturday’s accident occurred on Highway 525 near the Greenbank Farm. Tim Scriven said his daughter was coming home from Christmas shopping in Oak Harbor.

According to the State Patrol report, Tonya stepped off the Island Transit bus at Wonn Road. After the bus had left, she was struck by the northbound vehicle as she attempted to cross the highway from west to east.

Martha Rose, executive director for Island Transit, said that Saturday’s accident was the first such incident the system has had in its 20-year history.

State Patrol Trooper David Martin determined the accident was caused by Scriven failing to yield to motorists on the highway and no charges will be brought against 58-year-old Losey.

A memorial service will be held Thursday, Dec. 20, at 2 p.m. at the South Whidbey Assembly of God Church on Maxwelton Road. Donations may be made in Tonya Scriven’s name at any branch of Wells Fargo Bank. Proceeds will benefit one of her favorite places, the Freeland Library.

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