Learning from a devastating tragedy | Publisher's Column

No words can express the sadness being felt in our community in the wake of the deaths of twins Janesah and Janeah Goheen.

Janesah died Monday at Harborview Medical Center. Janeah was declared dead at the scene of the Oct. 31 accident near Anacortes.

The girls, who lived in Oak Harbor, were 17.

As many struggle to try and understand this tragedy, one can only speculate the incredible grief the family of these two beautiful girls must be feeling. No parent should bury their child.

Since the accident, the discussion online has centered around cause, and some have jumped to conclusions about whether intoxication played a role. There is an undertone of anger.

Oak Harbor resident Ira Blackstock, 52, was arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault. Investigators concluded there appeared to be no presence of alcohol in his blood.

However, additional tests for other substances are being conducted by the Washington State Patrol.

This accident has devastated two families, the Goheens and Blackstocks, and speculating about the cause or responsibility won’t change what’s happened.

The Whidbey News-Times has reported the facts related to this crash as provided by the investigating officers. Any description of what likely occurred came directly from law enforcement officials.

Ultimately, it will likely be up to a court of law to determine guilt or innocence. A rush to judgment in advance serves no one. The investigative and judicial process must run its course.

As for the young lives that were lost in this accident, for  of us at the Whidbey News-Times, these are the hardest of stories to cover. In reporting the facts about what happened, it’s our hope to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

As a young reporter at the News-Times, I interviewed the family of a young boy killed after the car he was riding in crashed as a result of road rage. Calling this family to ask them to talk about the fatal crash, and subsequently interviewing the grieving mother ,was gut-wrenching.

However, the mother talked candidly about the accident and her devastating loss because she hoped to spare others the pain she was suffering.

As this community gathers this weekend to pay tribute and say goodbye to the Goheen twins, it’s our hope that, somehow, learning about what happened in this accident will save someone else’s life in the future.


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