Anguished families recall their lost children as teen driver is sentenced

Families say the driver told them he was in the U.S. military

Families of three teenagers who were killed in a Jan. 11 car crash expressed anguished sorrow about the loss of their children during sentencing of the driver.

Around 90 people packed the Kitsap juvenile courtroom on Feb. 19 to listen as the families broke down in tears as they spoke about their lost children, Kassidy Miranda Clark, Jenna Marie Farley and Luther James Wiggins-Stoudermire.

Marcus A. McKay, the 17-year-old driver in the crash, was charged with three counts of vehicular homicide after the 3:26 a.m. Jan. 11 crash. Earlier McKay admitted to smoking marijuana and speeding prior to the crash.

[Related: CK community mourns teens lost in fatal car crash ]

[Related: Teen may be charged as an adult ]

[Related: Teen driver pleads guilty to three counts of vehicular homicide ]

Several audience members wore pink T-shirts that read “Kassidy Miranda Clark – 1998-2015” in sparkly silver glitter.

McKay sat silently and held a folded tissue as the victim’s families spoke. He sat with his parents. All three of them wore black sweaters.

The victim’s families asked the court to deliver the maximum sentence allowed by law, a request Superior Court Judge William C. Houser granted: 15-36 weeks in juvenile detention for each of the three counts of vehicular homicide, to be served consecutively.

The total time in jail could be 45 to 108 weeks. The actual time spent in prison would be determined by the Juvenile Justice Rehabilitation Administration’s assessment of McKay’s behavior in jail.

McKay will get credit for one day of jail that he has already served.

The court also ruled McKay may not possess firearms unless the court restores that right. He must also pay fees and restitution.

McKay said he was sorry for the crash.

“I wish I could bring them back,” McKay told the court. He said his friends would have wanted him to stay strong.

Defense attorney Mark Randolph said in a sad case like this, legal terms such as the word “restitution” rang hallow.

“Restitution, which in other contexts means ‘making whole’ … That’s not going to happen here. That’s not possible,” Randolph said.

Houser said McKay must face the consequences of his decision.

“You are sitting in a juvenile courtroom for a reason,” Houser said.

“But we also have not given up on you,” he continued. McKay had an opportunity to become a better person.

“I hope that you respond to that,” Houser said.

Family members of the three teens spoke to the court:

Reuben Farley, Jenna’s father

Farley said he could find no words to express the emptiness he felt in his heart. He held up a photo of his daughter as he spoke.

“This is my daughter, Jenna Marie Farley. This is how she looked when she got into a car on Jan. 10, 2015. When I came out to that car to meet the person that would be driving the car my daughter was getting into, you introduced yourself as Kameron Clark, Kassidy’s brother. You told me you were on holiday leave from the military and you would be taking Jenna and Kassidy to your parents … you impersonated a person in the military. So I assumed you would be responsible with kids in the car.

“I told you to keep my daughter safe, and then you would shake my hand and say, ‘I will, sir.’ I kissed Jenna on the forehead and told her I loved her and ‘see you tomorrow’ and she said ‘love you too.’ I did not know that would be the last time I ever got to see my daughter.

“At 8 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 11 the doorbell rang. I opened the door to have the coroner, my fire chief, and a chaplain inform me that Jenna had been in a car accident and was killed.

“This was not an accident. Three kids were killed in a collision that you caused. It was your decision that would cause three families to never get to hold their kids again. These families will never get a chance to watch them play sports, to graduate high school, go to college or get a job. All of these things your family will be there for you to accomplish. This collision was the result of many actions that you had control over. It happened because you chose to drive too fast. You chose to use an illegal drug prior to driving a vehicle with three people that trusted you with their lives. You chose to ignore the restrictions on your drivers license. You chose to drive a vehicle with no insurance. You chose to do all of that after having a drivers license for a very short amount of time. And you chose to impersonate a member of our military which is the only reason my daughter was allowed in the car with you.”

Jenny Farley, Jenna’s mother

Jenna’s mother, Jenny, noted that her daughter was just weeks away from her 15th birthday when the crash occurred.

“She never made it to that birthday. We celebrated her birthday on Jan. 28 without her.”

Farley recalled watching her husband collapse at the front door when he learned of the news. Farley said she had always been careful about who she let her daughter ride with.

“This wasn’t an accident. And I keep hearing that phrase used over and over again and it’s an incorrect statement. Accidents do happen. They happen all the time. Animals run out on the road, trees fall. This collision was caused because of all the absolutely horrible decisions that were made over the course of a few hours. He is responsible for these decisions.”

She noted McKay did not heed restrictions on his intermediate drivers license that did not permit driving early in the morning nor with young passengers.

“Marcus chose to smoke marijuana. He chose to drive after smoking marijuana. He chose to drive after smoking marijuana when he knew that he had three other kids in that car depending on him to get them safely to their next destination. He chose to drive extremely fast on an extremely dangerous road.

“He came to our house on the night of January the tenth and he lied about who he was. He came to our house, he looked my husband in the eye, he shook his hand and he introduced himself as Kassidy’s older brother, Kameron Clark. Kameron is a member of our United States military. That’s the only reason that Jenna was allowed in that car.

“How dare he impersonate Kameron … how dare he come to our house, shake my husband’s hand, look him in the eye and lie.

“Imagine our surprise when we learned Kassidy’s brother was in Virginia, not riding in a car that morning in Seabeck when our daughter was killed. I can only imagine how scared, Jenna, Kassidy and Luther must have been prior to that collision. I wonder if they were yelling at you to slow down? Well never know since Marcus is the only one who made it safely out of that car and we already know that we cannot trust anything he says.”

Farley said the force of the impact was so strong that Jenna was ejected from the vehicle even though she had a seatbelt on. Farley said she was tired of hearing people say McKay would have to live with this all his life, because McKay still had a chance to have a future, attend college, have a career, fall in love, get married and have children.

“These are things that Jenna does not have an opportunity to do.”

Farley said she would never be able to hug or kiss her daughter, nor go dress shopping with her, watch her grow up or become a wife and mother.

“Marcus, you’ve stolen these things from us,” Farley said.

“You may have heard that some of Marcus’ victim’s families forgive him and even that they love him. I can promise you that he has not heard those words from me. I do not forgive you. I do not have any love in my heart for Marcus. I do hope that some day I can forgive him. But that does not mean that I will ever accept the decisions that he’s made or that I will ever trust him.”

Trina Clark, Kassidy’s mother

“I gave life to this beautiful human being,” Clark said. She sobbed as she spoke and friends comforted her.

“She spent half of her life on a softball field … she lived and breathed softball. She was driven,” Clark said of her daughter.

Kassidy Clark dreamed of playing softball at the college level and became a friend to Marcus, Trina said.

“She would always say, ‘Marcus is a good kid, mom.'”

“That night, what made you decide to throw that trust away, Marcus? … Why would you smoke marijuana and speed 70-plus miles per hour?”

Trina said she loved her daughter and that she would see her again some day.

Keith Clark, Kassidy’s father

Keith Clark said he has always worked hard to provide for his family.

“The best I have to show for my efforts is a loving wife and five wonderful children,” he said, his voice cracking. “And now I have four.”

He said that after he got married he always wanted to have a little girl to dress up and show off. Kassidy was a dream come true, he said.

She was driven to play softball, he said.

“I will never play softball with her again. Never hear her laugh. Never see her smile … the worst thing of all, I’ll never get to hear her say ‘dad’ again.”

Clark asked the judge to have McKay stop posting comments on his daughter’s Facebook page.

Jamal Stoudermire, Luther’s brother

Jamal Stoudermire said his younger brother, Luther, was his best friend.

“It’s hard to see him gone,” Jamal said. When he walks by Luther’s room, it’s cold and empty. Only pictures of Luther remain.

Jamal wondered if Luther or other people in the car asked McKay to slow down.

Jamal said he did not know McKay, but that he didn’t think McKay had the intent to kill his friends.

Jamal asked the court to revoke McKay’s driver’s license for three years — one year for each victim.

Jeanette Stoudermire, Luther’s mother

Jeanette said she didn’t understand why McKay said that he was a friend of Luther.

“A friend definitely wouldn’t smoke marijuana and get in a car and drive 70 miles per hour knowing that you had three other lives in the car. Luther was my baby,” Jeanette said.

“I will never get to see him walk the stage to graduate,” she said.

Sometimes, Jeanette said, she calls out to her son, but he does not answer back.

“Do you know why he’s not answering me back? He’s gone!,” she cried.

“You took my son away from me. I will never get to see his smiling face again.”

Aisha Stoudermire, Luther’s sister

Aisha remembered her younger brother Luther was fond of sky-blue shirts.

The day before the crash, she recalled, she happened to have “Carpe Diem” tattooed on her wrist.

“‘Seize the day.’ Because every day is not promised,” she said.

She recalled the last day she saw her younger brother alive, the day before the crash.

Luther was hanging out on the couch. Two girls were with him. Aisha went to meet the two girls. She said she had never met Kassidy before.

A few minutes later McKay came in and asked if the girls were ready. They needed more time, they replied.

Aisha asked Luther, “‘Where are you going?’ He’s like, ‘I’m going to a party.’ I’m like, ‘OK.’ The last thing I said to him was, ‘OK, have fun and don’t be stupid.'”

“And then I found out (about the crash) the next day, I felt like the devil or somebody had come into my house to ask for my brother and never brought him back,” Aisha said in an anguished tone.

She said she felt like it was her fault because she let him go out the door. But Luther was always on the move, she said, and one couldn’t keep him home.

Luther had been a special part of her life for over 17 years, she said. It was hard to walk past his room now.

“I sit by the couch every day waiting for him to come through the door and he’s not there. I just want you to know Marcus … that day, that was the day my heart truly broke. And my brother’s, my baby brother.”