Friends of Mike Haley say he always lived life passionately, with a voice that forcefully announced his spirit.
If there was a kid who lived life to the fullest, it was him, said Bill Sullivan, father of one of Haley's friends.
The 19-year-old died after the truck he drove struck a tree on Happy Valley Road June 13. Police reports say he was traveling at more than 80 miles per hour north on the road when he failed to make a 90-degree turn on the 3900 block of Happy Valley.
Haley had driven south on Happy Valley Road at a high rate before turning around at the top of the hill and heading north again, said a witness who lives off the road.
He came by there, and he was flying, said DJ Bassett, who tried to catch Haley's license number to report his speed to the police.
I saw him, and heard the engine going so fast there was no way he could get around that corner. I didn't see any brake lights at all, said Bassett. Next thing I saw was just a cloud of steam coming out of the trees.
A Clallam County Sheriff's department press release confirmed that a lack of marks on the road indicated Haley didn't attempt to stop or turn his Toyota pick-up truck, and investigators also saw no indications Haley was wearing a seat belt.
No controlled or illicit substances were believed to be involved, stated the release, and friends of Haley said the young man had chosen to be drug- and alcohol-free.
Haley was a member of the Dungeness Community Church, and had been active in the church's youth group through high school.
That's the saving grace, that he knew the Lord, said Sullivan, tears welling in his eyes as he looked toward Haley's mangled Toyota.
In the hour after Haley's death, friends gathered at Happy Valley Road to mourn the young man and comfort each other. News of the crash spread quickly through the community.
Haley had graduated from Sequim High School in 2004, where he was voted most spirited in his class. At sporting events throughout his high school career and at the recent graduation of the class of 2005, he used his impressive vocal power to cheer on friends and classmates.
Summer Jackson, who graduated from Sequim High two days before Haley's death, had grown close to him and the two started dating about a month ago.
Oh my god, he was so full of life; he was always … so happy, Jackson said. I didn't know one person who didn't like Mike.
Sullivan echoed the sentiments.
(He was) just so full of life, you can't believe it, said Sullivan. Everybody's hurting pretty hard. Haley had eaten dinner at the Sullivan home the evening before his death, and Joe Sullivan stayed that night with Haley. The elder Sullivan gazed at the ground and shook his head at the loss.
The day after Haley's death, friends continued to visit the site of the crash, placing flowers and personal notes at the base of a white cross. Nearby, boards from a fence Haley broke through before striking the trees were laid carefully in cross formations.
As of press time, no memorial service was planned.
--by Ariel Hansen
Gazette staff writer