Spokane Valley - Liberty Lake Neighborhood News

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Teen faces vehicular homicide charges in deaths of U High students

Spokane County prosecutors charged a 16-year-old driver with two counts of vehicular homicide Wednesday for the deaths of University High students Josie Freier and McKenzie Mott.

Preston Maher is being charged as a juvenile for the October 5, 2013 crash that killed Freier and Mott.

The investigation into the crash revealed Maher had gotten his license the day before, wasn't allowed to have passengers in his car because he had just gotten his license, and was driving at freeway speeds along Bates Road, where the speed limit was 25 miles an hour.

Friends of the victims said they had left a nearby party with the intent to do the "Ponderosa Jump," a crest of a hill where you can get your car airborne if you pick up enough speed. They added, according to court documents, it wasn't the first time Maher had attempted the jump in his car.

Sheriff's deputies are hoping other teen drivers are paying attention to what happened here.

"I guess outcome for this would be to use it as a learning tool, using it as parents, like many of us are to educate our kids on the safety aspects of not going out, driving recklessly, goofing around because, worse case scenario, we could have another outcome like this," Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Chamberlin said.

Maher is scheduled to appear in court to face the charges on February 4. He is expected to be prosecuted as a juvenile and if convicted his punishment will be measured in months instead of years.

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