Boat crash victim was Bellevue teacher

Boat crash victim was Bellevue teacher
SEATTLE -- A woman killed when two boats collided on Lake Washington worked as an orchestra teacher in the Bellevue School District, officials said Monday.

Heather DeHart, 37, taught at Tyee Middle School for five years and had 170 students in her classes this year.

DeHart, who lived in Renton, died Saturday night when the sailboat she was in was struck from behind by a motorboat near Seward Park.

Investigators said the motorboat may have been speeding before it struck and went over the top of the sailboat, which moored at the time of the crash.

"It went up over the top of the back," said Seattle Police Captain Neil Low. "She was thrown from the sailboat and may have been struck again by the speedboat."

Police spokeswoman Renee Witt said investigators are trying to determine if the driver saw the sailboat in front of him.

"According to witnesses, the people that were onboard the sailboat actually saw or heard the powerboat coming towards them, at which point they attempted to get their attention by waving their arms and yelling out 'Stop! Stop! Slow down!'"

The 17-year-old boy who was driving the motorboat and a 16-year-old female passenger were taken to Harborview and later released. The driver was interviewed by detectives, and the investigation is ongoing.

Staff at Tyee Middle School were informed of DeHart's death Monday morning, and teachers read a prepared statement to students.

"I know her by her reputation. She had an excellent program," said Principal Judy Buckmaster. "She had a group that met before school in the morning. Her groups performed in festivals, concerts. She was an exceptional musician. I know that about her."

Students in her DeHart's have been putting together letters of remembrance and photos for DeHart's family, and the district made counselors available.

"Middle school students are fairly justice-minded so they want to know what's happening to the boat that ran into her. They want to know how the family is coping," said Buckmaster.