The parents of a 15-year-old Battle Ground girl, who died when her truck went off a logging road east of Woodland on Friday, said she’d called them 10 minutes before the fatal crash.
Lacey Carol-Lynn Hall phoned to say she was headed down the hillside road east of Woodland and coming home, said Kelly Kender, Lacey’s mother.
Tragically, she never made it.
The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office reported that Lacey’s pickup truck went off a logging road and plunged down a steep hillside.
She died in the crash near the 700 block of Davis Peak Road, about six miles east of Woodland, the sheriff’s office said in a press release Wednesday.
First responders from numerous Cowlitz and Clark County agencies were dispatched to the reported single-vehicle crash at about 11 p.m. Friday, the press release said.
A 16-year-old female passenger had been able to climb out of the wreckage and make her way up to the road, the press release said. She was transported to PeaceHealth Southwest Washington Medical Center with minor injuries.
The girls were at a graduation party with about 40 kids. Lacey didn’t know many people there besides a small group of friends, and they decided to leave together, Kelly Kender said. Lacey was following another car but had to stop because dry conditions were kicking up dust and affecting visibility, Kelly Kender said the 16-year-old, a friend of Lacey’s, told her.
“She said they stopped to let the dust settle. They stopped too close to the edge (of the road) and the truck slipped and rolled down the side,” Kelly Kender said.
Deputies told the parents they found no signs the girls had been drinking, and speed wasn’t a factor in the accident, according to Dan Kender, Lacey’s stepfather.
Vancouver Fire Department spokesman Joe Spatz said Cowlitz responders requested a technical rescue team to respond to the scene. Firefighters had to set up a rope system to recover Lacey’s body, Spatz said, noting that a colleague characterized the hill as very challenging terrain.
Lacey attended Battle Ground High School. She would have been a junior next school year, her mother said.
Her parents said she was a people pleaser who was quick to forgive and could hold conversations with anybody. Lacey’s greatest passion was singing, they said.
“She would sing and sing for hours, and she was great at it. She would sing to herself, karaoke, on TikTok videos and on stage quite a bit,” Kelly Kender said.
She sang at Billy Blues Bar and Grill in Hazel Dell on Sunday nights when the restaurant would open up for minors to come play music. Other young musicians would invite Lacey to sing with them. She also sang in her high school’s choir, and was a student at Northwest Rock Academy, which offered her the opportunity to perform at the Clark County Fair.
Lacey knew she needed a backup plan, her mother said, so she had enrolled in the fire science program at Cascadia Tech Academy and was set to start instruction next school year.
“She was just starting to think about what else she could do,” she said.
The teenager also couldn’t wait to “fall in love with someone,” Kelly Kender said.
She loved the idea of starting a family, probably because she loved hers so much, the parents said. When COVID-19 forced Lacey and her siblings to stay home, she embraced spending time with everyone, Dan Kender said.
The family is planning a private funeral service and a celebration of life sometime in the future.