Former Redmond police chief, teen killed in head-on crash

Former Redmond police chief, teen killed in head-on crash »Play Video
Former Redmond Police Chief Steven Harris. (Photo: Redmond Police Department.)
REDMOND, Wash. -- A former Redmond police chief and a 16-year-old boy were killed in a head-on crash in Redmond Sunday night. The former chief's wife was critically injured and is being treated at a Seattle hospital.

Troopers say the crash happened around 10 p.m. along Redmond-Fall City Road at 244th Ave. NE. The 16-year-old driver of a pickup truck was heading east when he struck a westbound Ford Explorer driven by 68-year-old Steven Harris, investigators said. Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene.

Friends and family identified the teenage driver as Taylor Griffith, a junior at Eastlake High School.

Harris' 68-year-old wife Margaret was injured and was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle in critical condition. Troopers say it was difficult to free her from the mangled wreckage.

"It was pretty awful," said Bridget Walsh who was at the crash scene. "I get here at 4:15 in the morning and the road was closed and they pulled out two cars on flatbeds and they were crushed. So I wasn't thinking anyone had survived it."

The driver of a third car that was struck in the crash's aftermath wasn't seriously injured.

Steven Harris was Redmond's police chief for 28 years before retiring in 2009. When hired in 1981, he was the youngest police chief in the state, officials said.

Redmond police said Harris was the past president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police from 1992-1993 and was nationally known for his development of law enforcement and corporate partnerships as a means of reducing crime. During his tenure, the Redmond Police Department received national recognition by Good Housekeeping Magazine as one of the eight best suburban law enforcement agencies in the United States, the department said.

"Retired Chief Harris’s lasting legacy includes developing the department from a small town police force to a professional organization," said Redmond mayor John Marchione.

The investigation and cleanup left Redmond-Fall City Road closed at the crash scene for the entire night. The roadway reopened just before 6 a.m.

Troopers are still investigating what exactly led up to the crash.