Lakewood Runner Dies in Car Crash

Agony over boy\'s death
Lakewood teen was standout student, cross-country runner

By Eric Stevick and Scott Pesznecker
Herald Writers

LAKEWOOD - Scott Skiles had a balance in his life that his coaches and teammates on the Lakewood High School cross-country team say they will always admire.

He was the tall, lanky kid with the tremendous work ethic who could also eat 13 cinnamon rolls on a bus ride back from south Everett.

He set lofty personal goals but didn\'t let them distract him from urging the best from his teammates - even those consigned to the back of the pack.

\"He could even make dissecting a frog fun and not disgusting,\" said Danielle Osti, 16, a Lakewood High School senior and his middle school science lab partner.

Osti and other students, teachers, teammates and coaches were reeling Wednesday over news of the death of the standout runner, Boy Scout, pianist and honor student.

Scott, who was about to start his senior year at Lakewood High School, was driving his Toyota Tacoma pickup west in the 2500 block of Fire Trail Road on Tuesday when he crashed head-on with a dump truck on a narrow bridge over West Fork Quilceda Creek.

The Snohomish County Sheriff\'s Office is investigating.

\"We\'re all still kind of numb,\" Corrine Goggert, 17, a senior and co-captain of the girls cross-country team, said Wednesday after an emotional team meeting.

It has been a tough few months at Lakewood High School.

One group of Lakewood students learned about their friend\'s death Tuesday afternoon while at their weekly bedside vigil for another friend who was seriously injured in a crash earlier this year.

Meggi Ward, 17, remains in a coma at a Woodinville care center after a May 13 car crash that took the life of her friend, Karlie Kaska, 17. All were part of the 2005 high school cross-country team as well as a tight-knit group of friends, said Ross Trevino, who graduated in June.

\"We are like a real family and we lost a brother,\" Trevino said. \"Scotty, I love that kid, and he\'s going to be missed by more people than he would ever imagine. We\'re leaning on each other. Just after what happened in May and now this - it\'s overwhelming.\"

Jeff Sowards was Scott\'s cross-country coach and college-level advanced-placement U.S. history teacher.

\"Scotty was always wanting to push himself more,\" Sowards said. \"Basically, he led by example.\"

In workouts, he recently set a school time-trial record in the 3,000 meters. Scott placed second to teammate Tyler Rapp at last year\'s Class 2A state meet. Rapp\'s graduation meant that Scott would have been among the favorites to win a state championship this fall, coaches said.

He was 35th as a sophomore and 89th as a freshman. Also a track standout, he took fifth in the 3,200-meter run at the 2A state meet in May.

For all his individual achievements, Scott thought of others, said co-captain James Ervin, 17.

\"He just worked harder than everyone else,\" he said. \"You could tell he was happy about his (second) place, but he wanted our team to do well more than anything.\"

Scott took some of the toughest classes the school offered. His academic class ranking was tenth in a class of 150 students, school officials said.

Scott was a gifted pianist. Some piano students hoped they wouldn\'t have to follow him at recitals because of the difficult pieces he would perform.

Lois Forde, his piano teacher, fondly remembered how \"polite, respectful and well rehearsed\" he was for weekly lessons despite his busy schedule. A recital performance of \"Freezing Hot,\" a jazz rock duet he did with his brother, Chad, stands out in her memory.

\"They were just rocking that piano until it shook,\" she said. \"That piano moved.\"

Scott attended the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Smokey Point. His peers there viewed him as a leader, said Jill Leonard, a Lakewood School Board member who attends the same church.

Scott would have been president of his church\'s morning seminary classes, which children and teenagers attend before heading off to school.

He was a great kid with strong family values, Leonard said. \"Our church is like a family, and the whole congregation is mourning, as well as his family.\"

Scott was also an accomplished member of Boy Scouts of America Troop 182, which was sponsored by his church.

His Scout leader, Mark Brower, said Scott was shy until you got to know him. He had a wry, bright sense of humor and always greeted people with a firm handshake, Brower said.

Three months ago, Scott bested his fellow Scouts at an informal burger-eating contest, scarfing down seven 99-cent cheeseburgers at Wendy\'s.

He was also among the first to lend a helping hand during monthly community service projects, Brower said.

\"He was a very likable guy,\" Brower said. \"We\'re going to miss him a lot.\"

Scott was on the verge of earning his Eagle Scout rank. He finished his last required merit badge, personal finance, two weeks ago. All he needed to do was have a final interview with his Scout leaders.

His Eagle community service project included leading an effort to clean and paint the high school stadium walls and railings, school officials said.

Brower said he\'s going to ask Boy Scouts of America\'s corporate office to give Scott his Eagle Scout rank.

Scott was the oldest of five children, said his aunt, Ali Carter of Mount Vernon. In addition to his parents, he is survived by two brothers and two sisters. His siblings looked up to him as a role model, as did many of his 59 cousins, his aunt said.

Scott\'s 14-year-old brother, Chad, is about to start his freshman year at Lakewood High School. He was excited about running cross country with his older brother, Carter said.

His 12-year-old sister, Mikaela, took up running because of Scott, his aunt said.

\"They are missing their idol. They are very much missing that boy,\" she said.

The family is planning a public service for Scott at noon Tuesday at his church in Smokey Point.

Herald writers Mike Cane and Diana Hefley contributed to this report.

Reporter Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446 or stevick@heraldnet.com.

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