Regrets, grief after teen takes fatal fall during party

Regrets, grief after teen takes fatal fall during party
NEAR CONCRETE, Wash. -- Family and friends are mourning the death of a Skagit County teenager who fell to his death off of a cliff at a gravel pit.

Police believe 17-year-old Mitchell Latting's death was an accident. But loved ones believe the tragedy could have been prevented.

"He loved everybody," said the victim's best friend Danny Brown. "He would give the shirt off his back to anybody."

On Friday night, Latting was with friends at a rock quarry near Concrete. His friends say it is a popular spot; however, it is not without its dangers.

"I hear about it a lot, that kids come up here and drink all the time," said friend Mackenzie Tibbits. "Everyone told people not to come up here, because it's really dangerous."

The quarry itself is closed to the public. The rocky terrain is difficult to navigate, and the cliffs have drops that plunge nearly 60 feet down.

"I never really liked the place," said Robert Hubbard, the victim's brother. "Every time I said I would go to the party up here, I never did."

Latting's friends say parties at the rock quarry typically involve a lot of underage drinking. And on Friday night, Latting was drinking heavily, according to his brother.

"He stumbled over a rock, and he was down on his hands and knees. And he went to get up and just stumbled straight over," said Hubbard.

Latting fell roughly 55 feet.

"After he fell, a couple people went down there to see if he was still alive and stuff," said Abby Tibbits, the victim's girlfriend. "And they were trying to turn him over, and they were shaking him. And someone started yelling, 'Someone call an ambulance.'"

Latting died from the fall.

On Monday, his big brother and his friends returned to the quarry to remember him.

"When you're on alcohol and you're a little bit out of it, you're not aware of your surroundings. You're just 10 feet tall and bulletproof," said Hubbard.

A friend says Latting actually saved his life on Friday night, just two hours before the fatal fall.

"We were sitting on the edge ... and all of a sudden, I started slipping. And I was like, 'Look, rocks are falling underneath me.' And he was like, 'Grab my shoulder.' And I grabbed his shoulder, and he pulled me back up," said Brown.

The victim's friends say it is hard not to have regrets.

"I don't think anybody's going to be partying up here after this," said the victim's girlfriend.