By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – Authorities may never know why 16-year-old Tyler S. Gonzalez was laying on a county road in the middle of the night before he was run over and killed by a full-sized SUV, but they know he was drunk and had wandered away from an underage party where liquor had been supplied by adults.
The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is asking prosecutors to charge a pair of 22-year-old Chehalis women with furnishing liquor to a minor, a gross misdemeanor. The crime has a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail.
Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield called it a sad, tragic and preventable accident. The sheriff fixes the blame on both the Chehalis teenager who drank and the two women who bought alcohol for kids that night.
“The initial actions of these two women ultimately set things in motion for the tragedy to occur,” Mansfield stated in a news release.
The suspects, Talia Date and Megan Day have not been arrested.
The W.F. West High School sophomore died from multiple internal injuries about 2:30 a.m. on May 12 on Brockway Road near Chilvers in Adna, about a mile west of Interstate 5 at Chehalis. The Washington State Patrol said a 50-year-old Onalaska woman rounded a slight right hand curve when she hit him. They noted there are no street lights in the area and they did not expect to file any charges against the driver.
The sheriff’s office has said about 10 young people were drinking beer and hard liquor in a shop building that sits back from a home on the 100 block of Brockway Road. The parents were asleep in the house and unaware a party was in progress, the sheriff’s office has said.
Tyler’s blood alcohol level was measured at .17, according to the sheriff’s office. That’s more than twice the legal limit for driving.
Mansfield said investigators don’t really know why he was laying on the roadway. They don’t know if he was sleeping, passed out or perhaps laid down to rest, the sheriff’s said.
Tyler and another boy, both of whom were extremely intoxicated, walked away from the party, the sheriff said.
“We know some friends were looking for him, there was a mix up about who was with who,” he said.
The sheriff said the young women didn’t attend the gathering; one of them was a relative of one of the young men at the party.
Mansfield called purchasing alcohol for kids and kids drinking totally irresponsible behavior that led to the loss of a life.
“This is a serious problem in our community,” he said.
“So the message is, wise up folks,” he said. “The consequences for this are huge.”