Garrett Underland should be starting his senior year at White Pass High School.
He should one of twelve seniors on the team, a big bruising tackle. He should be driving a second-hand truck to football practice, and thinking about applying for college scholarships.
He should be #77.
Garrett never got to do any of it.
September 7, 2015
The Underland family—15-year-old Garrett, mom Rachel and dad Steve—had only recently moved to the area. Garrett had enrolled at White Pass High School as a freshman, and started practice with the football team.
On a warm, sunny Labor Day, Garrett’s parents had left to help plan a memorial for one of their best friends, and Garrett stayed behind with their close friends Jeremy and Kerri. The three of them headed to the campground on U.S. 12., outside of Randle to return a dog they had been taking care of over the weekend.
Garrett rode to the campground in the front passenger seat of Jeremy and Kerri’s car, chatting about school, football and cars. Just as the car was about to turn into the campground, a semi-truck driver struck the car at full speed.
The violent rear-end crash propelled the car it into the oncoming lane, where it was smashed into by another truck.
A young life, with so much hope and so many dreams, was cut short in the most brutal way.
Not an “accident”
This was no accident.
It was a preventable crash that was caused by the semi-truck driver’s failure to focus on the road. It is an all-too-common occurrence, but we must constantly resist normalizing distracted driving.
Over the last 30+ years, I have represented families that have suffered great losses because of trucking and automobile crashes. I pursue justice and accountability for my clients, but, can never turn back the clock or erase the depth of the pain they suffer.
This is especially true when it comes to the loss of a child.
Garrett Underland’s story is only one of the more than 35,000 stories of kids, parents, friends, and neighbors who died on U.S. highways in 2015.
But I will remember his too-brief life, along with Steve and Rachel, who will always be his parents, and his grandparents, uncles, and friends.
Tonight—Friday, September 7—the White Pass- Morton football team will take the field in brand-new jerseys, in honor of #77, who never made it onto the field again.
Questions? Please contact attorney Kevin Coluccio directly here.