Community mourns loss of Selah High School senior

Community mourns loss of Selah High School senior »Play Video

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- A community is mourning after the death of a Selah High School senior. Tuesday, the man accused of killing him made his first appearance in court. Court documents tell us more about the crash that killed Clayton Kester.

A baseball bat, pictures, and kind words: all things left to remember Clayton Kester. The 18-year-old died along North Wenas Road Friday night. Troopers say it likely came at the hands of a drunk driver.

"He had so many friends. The community is pulling for him, just wanting to surround the family with care," family friend Joanne Helms said.

The Selah High senior played baseball growing up and was a hero to his little brother.

"Clayton taught him so many things and really encouraged him to live his life," she said.

That life was cut short on North Wenas Road. Troopers say 28-year-old Steven Gibbs sped around Clayton's car. When the teen tried to make a left turn onto Lancaster Road, troopers say Gibbs smashed into him.

"I'm glad he wasn't doing anything wrong," Helms said. "I'm glad there's not that stigma attached to his final minutes."

Court documents indicate Clayton's foot was sheared off in the impact. He died in a Seattle hospital.

Troopers say Gibbs smelled of alcohol at the scene. He is now facing vehicular homicide charges. His blood tests are still outstanding that will confirm whether he was under the influence that night.
"He was a great kid and a great teen and would have been a great man," Helms said. "We're going to miss him."

Thinking back to the good times, this family friend hopes she'll never see another family go through this kind of loss.

"Cherish every moment that you have," she said. "Be mindful of your surroundings."

Clayton Kester's family has requested any memorial contributions be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  He was diagnosed a type one diabetic when he was 12 years old.

Visitation will be Thursday, March 13, 2014, 2:00-7:00 p.m. at Selah Covenant Church (560 McGonagle Rd, Selah, WA).  Funeral service on Friday, March 14, 2014, 2:00 p.m. at Selah Covenant Church with burial to follow at Terrace Heights Memorial Park.  A reception will be held at the Selah Covenant Church after the burial.