2 teens dead, driver charged after game of 'leapfrog'

Credit: KING

Rebekah Barrett (left) and Shanaia Bennett

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by ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News and KING 5 News Staff

KTVB.COM

Posted on December 18, 2013 at 8:49 AM

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. -- Two teenagers are dead and a man is charged with vehicular homicide after a crash in Port Orchard Monday night that police say started as a game of “leapfrogging.”

Robert Rundquist Jr., 20, was charged Tuesday with two counts of vehicular homicide in the case and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. He was being held on $100,000 bail.

The crash happened around 9:45 p.m. near the intersection of Baby Doll Road E and E. Collins Road.

The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office says the vehicles involved were a pickup truck, driven by Rundquist, and a 1994 Toyota Camry. The Camry was driven by Rundquist's girlfriend, 18-year-old Rebekah Barrett, who had two 17-year-old girls, Shanaia Bennett and Michelle Gregory, as passengers.

Deputies say the car and truck were playing “leapfrog” – a game in which vehicles are constantly passing one another – around an SUV. Both vehicles were going 55-60 mph in a 35 mph zone, according to deputies.

The Camry left the road, into a ditch and hit a tree. Rebekah Barrett and Shanaia Bennett, who were sitting in the front seats, were killed on impact.

Michele Gregory was sitting in the back seat and was thrown from the vehicle. She was taken to a Tacoma hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Rundquist, who is now living with the emotional wreckage from the crash, appeared in court Tuesday. The courtroom was full of friends and family as he wiped away tears at his arraignment.

Back in Port Orchard, friends feel his pain.

"Losing your girlfriend to a stupid decision, losing someone you care about that much, gone in a blink of an eye. It's tragic," said J.J. Bailie, friend.

Baby Doll Road where the wreck happened is known as a speedway for young racers. Now it's known as the place where two lives were lost and another ruined.

"This is a wake up call. Two innocent girls died because they were messing around and couldn't control it or it got out of hand too quickly and they couldn't handle it," said Joey Breshon, friend.

"I just feel really sorry. It shouldn't have happened like this. None of it should've happened," said Chris Caldwell, friend.

Rundquist has had prior arrests for DUI and reckless driving. Police say drugs and alcohol were not factors in the crash.

Friends say all four were on their way back from an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

Deputies say the SUV was not part of the “leapfrogging” game and was not involved in the crash.

 

KING 5's Jake Whittenberg and Liza Javier contributed to this report.

 

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