Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Sept. 30, 2020

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Community mourns death of school administrator in Hazel Dell crash

Carolyn 'Suz' Clark-Bennett, died Tuesday evening in crash that injured four others

By , Columbian Metro Editor, and
, Columbian Education Reporter
Published:
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Carolyn"Suz" Clark-Bennett, died Tuesday evening in a two-vehicle collision on Northeast 78th Street in Hazel Dell. Clark-Bennett was an associate principal at Wind River Middle School and Stevenson High School, as well as the Skamania County Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition Coordinator.
Carolyn"Suz" Clark-Bennett, died Tuesday evening in a two-vehicle collision on Northeast 78th Street in Hazel Dell. Clark-Bennett was an associate principal at Wind River Middle School and Stevenson High School, as well as the Skamania County Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition Coordinator. (Contributed photo) Photo Gallery

A Stevenson-Carson School District administrator who died in a Hazel Dell car wreck Tuesday night was remembered as “larger than life” and always focused on doing “what’s best for our kids.”

Washougal resident Carolyn “Suz” Clark-Bennett, 54, was killed and four others were injured Tuesday evening in a two-vehicle collision on Northeast 78th Street in Hazel Dell, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. Clark-Bennett was an associate principal at Wind River Middle School and Stevenson High School, as well as community coordinator for One Prevention Alliance.

A statement said the crash occurred about 7:30 p.m. in the 3600 block of Northeast 78th Street when Clark-Bennett attempted to turn east from the parking lot of King’s Way Christian Schools and drove her Ford Flex into the path of a westbound Dodge 2500 pickup driven by Kierstan Cormican of Battle Ground.

The pickup crashed into the driver’s side of Clark-Bennett’s car, according to the statement. Attempts to resuscitate Clark-Bennett were unsuccessful, and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cormican and three passengers in Clark-Bennett’s car were injured and transported to hospitals. Their condition was not immediately known, according to the statement.

The sheriff’s office said Cormican has been cooperative with investigators, and no charges have been filed.

The roadway was closed for about four hours after the crash for an investigation by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit.

Clark-Bennett first started working at the district in 2004 as a social studies teacher, driven to create civically engaged students, Superintendent Karen Douglass said in a statement. Clark-Bennett moved into administration two years ago. In that time, Douglass said, Clark-Bennett supported countless students, staff and families.

“No challenge was too big or concern too small for Suz, and she made it her mission to do whatever she could to positively influence the people fortunate enough to know her,” Douglass wrote.

Clark-Bennett was also the coordinator for the One Prevention Alliance, a hub of Educational Service District 112’s Prevent Coalition. She began working with the organization in 2018, where she worked with students on projects focused on drug and alcohol prevention.

“Suz was a vivacious, effervescent force of nature,” said Leanne Reid, regional prevention project coordinator with ESD 112. “There was nothing she couldn’t do. It’s difficult to imagine the hole her departure has left and I know that she would want the community to come together and wrap their arms around the work she was so passionate about as a way to continue her legacy.”

School counselors and Trauma Intervention Program volunteers were available for staff and students. The community also showed its support in the form of flowers, food, water, hugs and therapy dogs, Douglass said.

Those who knew Clark-Bennett wrote affectionate notes on banners posted inside the school, remembering her for her hard work, energy and passion.

“Your work for this school and students will never be forgotten,” one person wrote. “You touched so many lives. You will be missed. We love you, CB.”

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