An investigation continues into the death of a homeless teenager in Seattle. The man was camped in his tent near an Interstate 5 off-ramp when a car struck him early Monday morning.
Anna Cooper stood at a nearby intersection soon after, fighting back tears. She said the man who died was named Walter. She didn’t know him long. But here, on the streets, he was part of a group she calls family.
Cooper: “All the kids out here try to be hard, but he we wasn’t. He was really a good kid. He was soft. And he really was a good kid.”
Authorities pronounced him dead at the scene Monday morning. He was 19 years old. His full name was not yet released at the time of this report.
The diver was arrested on investigation of vehicular homicide.
You can see the tire tracks where the gray Volkswagen Jetta drove about 150 feet off the road and up a small hill into a greenbelt.
Cooper said her friend probably picked this spot to have a place of his own.
Cooper: "For privacy. It's isolated away from everybody else because we need space too."
It’s an exposed site; no guardrails.
Walter’s camp is gone. But another orange tent is still here, sandwiched between the freeway and the exit.
It’s state land. The Washington State Department of Transportation said it regularly monitors encampments like this near busy highways.
They're not safe areas, and "no trespassing" signs are posted. WSDOT said sites are routinely cleaned up; this particular area was scheduled for next month.
It'll come too late for Anna Cooper's friend, a friend who made her laugh, and who she saw as "a light in the darkness."