A veteran skateboard videographer is dead and a pro skateboarder is awaiting charges following a suspected DUI crash on Vashon Island last Wednesday night.
According to King County jail records, Cory Kennedy, 26, a professional skateboarder who lives on Vashon and has been involved in the island skateboarding community in recent years, was arrested early Thursday morning on suspicion of vehicular homicide. He is alleged to have been driving under the influence of alcohol when he crashed in the area of Thorsen and Bank roads Wednesday night. One passenger was killed, another was injured.
He was booked into the King County Correctional Facility in Seattle, but was released after appearing in court Friday, where a judge found probable cause for vehicular homicide, but did not charge Kennedy. He was back in court on Tuesday after press time.
The arresting deputy’s statement giving the reasoning for Kennedy’s arrest — the document is called a superform — indicates Kennedy’s blood alcohol level was measured at 0.10 or 0.11 by a portable breathalyzer — the legal limit in Washington is 0.08. A warrant for his blood was also granted, and it was drawn at Harborview Medical Center before he was taken to jail. The superform also indicate he was “exceeding a safe speed for the conditions.”
The King County Medical Examiner on Thursday identified Preston Maigetter, 45, also an islander and longtime professional skateboarder and video producer for Thrasher magazine, as the passenger who died at the scene of the crash.
An early Thursday morning press release from the King County Sheriff’s Office stated that just before 10:15 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 30, a homeowner in the area near Agren Park, where Bank Road turns into Thorsen Road, heard a “loud crash” in front of his residence. When sheriff’s deputies arrived on scene, they found a single-vehicle accident where a car had collided with a tree.
By Sunday, flowers and a wreath had been placed on the tree near the curve where Kennedy’s car went off the road; the tree is now missing layers of bark.
News of Maigetter’s death began to circulate Thursday, and on Sunday, islander Tami Brockway Joyce spoke about Maigetter and his family. She said he had moved to the island about two months ago and was renting a house from Kennedy. His fiancée, Anna Cobb, and their two young boys, Oskar and Felix, moved here about two weeks ago. Brockway Joyce met Cobb and the boys soon after the move by coincidence at an island Mexican restaurant.
“The first day Anna and the boys arrived, Jennifer (Potter) and her boys and me and my kids and Anna and her kids all ended up at Casa Bonita,” Brockway Joyce said. “Thanks to her (Anna’s) outgoing boys, we met and watched the eclipse together.”
She said that on the day of the eclipse, Maigetter came to Seattle Distilling Company, which Brockway Joyce owns with her husband, and played with all of the kids.
“He jumped them on his skateboard,” she said.
As for the relationship between Maigetter and Kennedy, she said Maigetter seemed to be “a mentor to a lot of people.”
Brockway Joyce said she is unsure if the family will continue to live on the island. A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family and has nearly doubled its $100,000 goal. A meal train has also been organized by Brockway Joyce. Meals are set to be provided through Oct. 18.
Cobb declined to comment to The Beachcomber about the incident.
Meanwhile, memorials for Maigetter, known in the skateboarding community as P-Stone or Big Dog, rolled in through many outlets online. Thrasher owner Tony Vitello posted this remembrance on the company’s site Thursday:
“Nothing is more heartbreaking than hearing news that a loved one has passed away. It hits you like a ton of bricks. As I’m writing this now, I still haven’t moved an inch past the phase of shock, and I’m positive it’s because there’s no way Preston Maigetter has left us. There isn’t a stronger, more brimming-with-life person on this planet. I’m certain of it. Preston was everything you could ever want in a human being. He loved his family and friends and skateboarding and life like no other person I’ve ever known. Preston is the guy you’d bring along if you were stranded on a island. He’d find the food, keep you safe, and eventually when search parties came to the rescue you’d tell them to turn back.”
Girl Skateboards, a company that sponsors Kennedy, also posted a remembrance for Maigetter on its Instagram page.
“There was never a man with a more positive outlook on absolutely everything,” the post says. “You will always be with us, Big Dog. This is just too tragic. Our hearts go out to his family, friends and all the lives he touched all over the world. Rest in Peace P-Stone.”
News of the crash also began traveling in Vashon’s skating community, and islanders recalled Kennedy’s ongoing contributions to Vashon’s skateboarding scene. Kennedy is a Lake Stevens, Washington, native who regularly skates with young island skateboarders and served as a judge during a competition to mark the dedication of the Burton Adventure Recreation Center’s (BARC) skate bowl in August 2015.
Islander Jenni Wilke’s family has been involved with Vashon’s skate park for years; her son Simon often skates there.
She said Kennedy began travelling from Tacoma to Vashon to skate before the outdoor skate bowl was built in 2014. He used to come and skate in the indoor park when the weather was bad. Once the bowl was built, it became one of his favorite places to skate, and he would come over two or three times a week to skate there.
“The boys recognized him right away,” Wilke said.
She said Kennedy has always seemed happy to hang out and goof around with the kids.
“He was just always really accessible to the kids. It was never, ‘I am too cool for you,’” she said. “He was a happy go lucky guy, like a big kid himself. He is a pro skateboarder, so surprise, surprise.”
She recalled that during one really hot day in the summer of 2015, Kennedy went to Raab’s Lagoon with several island families to swim and cool off. That was the first day he started to talk about moving to Vashon. She said news of the crash and the grieving process is surreal in part because of how well known Kennedy is in the skating world, but not known to many islanders.
“You know this celebrity, and there are people all over the world weighing in,” she said, adding, “It’s horrible, and it feels really heavy for these kids.”
Wilke also credits the young skaters on Vashon for not adding to the growing conversation online at the early stage of the news.
“The local kids were all respectful about what they knew and did not put anything online about it,” she said.
Marc Brown, an island father of two teenage boys who skate at BARC regularly, said Kennedy has always been “just really nice and really giving” and often hangs out and skates with the teens. He has brought extra shoes from his Nike sponsorship down to the bowl and given them to Brown’s son Matt, who has the same size feet as Kennedy.
“It was jaw-dropping for my kids because here’s this pro skater that they see in magazines and videos hanging out at the skate park and skating with them,” he said. “He’s involved with the kids. He isn’t this standoff pro athlete doing his own thing. He skates with them. There is no attitude to the kid.”
Like Wilke, he said that while Kennedy has only been living on the island for “a couple years,” he has been coming to Vashon to skate for several. Brown says it is because he can skate relatively unknown.
“If he went off-island to skate parks, he’d have a crowd around him. He gets privacy out here,” he said. “He doesn’t get attention other than from the local kids. He’s just one of them.”
Reached Monday, Kennedy’s attorney, Bellevue-based Francisco Duarte, said that while his client has a history of minor infractions in the form of speeding tickets, he has no criminal history. He further went on to take issue with the fact that King County deputy prosecutor Shane Harrison last Thursday used the speeding tickets to paint Kennedy as a danger to the community.
“He has been a law-abiding citizen and will continue to be a law-abiding citizen. This (crash) is an isolated incident,” he said.
Seattle television news station KIRO reported that during Kennedy’s first court appearance last Thursday, Harrison referenced Kennedy’s four speeding tickets in as many years and asked for Kennedy to be held on $250,000 bail. That request was denied.
Kennedy appeared in court after press time Tuesday and was expected to find out whether or not charges would be filed against him. He is under investigation for vehicular homicide and, if he’s convicted, he could face anywhere from eight to 10 and a half years in jail.
“It’s a pretty significant sentence,” Duarte said.
— Beachcomber reporter Susan Riemer contributed to this story.