RIDGEFIELD, Wash. – Family and friends said the Ridgefield High School student killed in a car crash was a talented musician who was already taking college classes during his senior year.
Tanner Trosko had just started his senior year at Ridgefield. He played percussion instruments in the band and friends said he was set to play at the football game on Friday.
Trosko was killed on Thursday night when a car he was riding in flipped. The driver, also a 17-year-old high school senior, survived the crash.
Detectives are still investigating what caused the crash.
Trosko’s stepfather told KATU that the boy could pick up a musical instrument and just start playing. He also had a passion for auto mechanics. Trosko was taking college courses, but had not yet decided where he wanted to attend school.
Trosko was good friends with the other teen driving the car, the stepdad said. Still, he didn’t know where the two were going or coming from.
The day after the fatal crash, the family and the Ridgefield community still have so many questions as they mourned the teen’s loss.
On Thursday, fellow seniors walked together, wearing blue to honor the late teen. A week into the school year and the grief is raw.
“Tomorrow’s the first football game and he would’ve been in the pep band, so that’s going to be rough,” said Tanya Persons, the mother of one of the teen’s good friends.
Persons said Trosko lived close to her family and they’d often see him driving by. She called him smart, talented and driven.
“Really friendly. Great kid,” she said.
Persons said the community is in shock.
“It’s tough. It’s rough and yeah, it’s a good reminder to all of us to hug your kids, love your family (and) tell everybody because you never know. You never know,” she said.
Investigators have ruled out drugs and alcohol as possible factors in the crash.
The focus of the investigation so far is the speed of the teens' truck when it took a 90-degree turn. The posted speed limit is 50 mph, but the recommended speed limit for the curve is 25 mph.
The case made us wonder: What laws are on the books for teen drivers in Oregon and Washington?
We talked with two owners of different driving schools, who recommended that family talk with their kids about driving with others in the car.
Both Oregon and Washington have rules prohibiting drivers under age 18 from having passengers younger than 20 in their car during the first six months they have their license.
One difference between Oregon and Washington's driving laws? Washington requires driver's education courses to obtain a license; Oregon does not.
"It is surprising that they don't have any driver's ed programs that are required in Oregon," said Nikki Bisconner, owner of DRVN 101 Driving School in Vancouver.
Still, the head of safety for the Oregon Department of Transportation said in his 16 years with the agency, state lawmakers have never seriously considered mandating driver's education.
They did pass a bill this year, though, making it cheaper for low-income students and families to take driver's ed, which takes effect Jan. 1.