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Society

Mother Of Teen Crash Victim: He Paid 'Ultimate Price' (Photos)

| by Michael Doherty

A mother whose son died in a car crash has shared a tragic message about her loss.

Three teens died in the crash, which happened in the early morning hours of July 26 in Lynnwood, Washington, according to The Seattle Times. The victims, 16-year-old Landon Staley, 15-year-old Mikayla Sorenson, and 16-year-old Travin Nelson-Phongphiou, were reported to have died from blunt-force injuries.

A 15-year-old girl who suffered injuries from the crash was hospitalized in serious condition.

Landon's mother, Cari Staley, said her son, who was the driver in the accident, had gotten his license just two months prior to the wreck. State law forbids new drivers under 18 from traveling with passengers under the age of 20 until they have had their license for at least six months, with the exception of immediate family.

Cari said Landon sneaked out of the house at night to drive with friends, which he had never done before.

"You can't prepare yourself for losing a child," said Cari, KCPQ reports. "He decided to go out and drive and break a few rules and paid the ultimate price."

"We just don't know how we are going to do it without him, you know? We are very tight," said Cari.

The mom described her son as "very affectionate, loving, level-headed." She added that she hopes her son's tragic death "impacts kids" who might be considering making unsafe decisions.

Cari also recalled her husband's death from cancer.

"A lot of friends helped through those times," she said, "I never thought I would have to go through round 2."

"We just need a lot of support right now," said Landon's younger brother, Colton.

Sorenson's family said that their daughter was "beautiful, vibrant, caring, and a true gift from God to the world."

Travin's grandfather, Steve Spjut, said that he prayed for the families when he heard the news, before learning that his grandson was one of those who died, according to KING.

"I gave the sign of the cross because I always grieve for families," said Spjut. "This time it was one of ours."

"I just hope these kids take the time to reflect and realize that loss can so easily happen," said Spjut. "It only takes a moment."

His grandmother, Vicki, recalled the last conversation she had with Travin.

"He called me the night before it happened and said, 'I haven't talked to you in quite a long time. I just wanted to say I love you,'" said Vicki.

The three dead teens were students at Henry M. Jackson High School. Principal Dave Peters said the school is "planning ways to honor these students as school begins and to use a positive message to bring [the] Jackson community closer together through this tragedy."

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