Car accident ends the life of a Klahowya grad

Nick Thompson established a strong bond of friendship with Benjamin Arnold when they attended Klahowya Secondary School together and now Thompson finds it hard to believe his best friend is gone.

Thompson, who graduated with Arnold in 2002, remembers him as someone who wanted to be happy and make others around the twenty-year-old happy. He describes Arnold as someone who would always make people laugh and would often bring a smile to those who knew him.

Arnold’s father, Dave, describes his son as an outgoing young man who loved the outdoors, especially hunting, fishing, camping and working with him on cars and motorcycles.

“He was a free spirit who thrived in sports. He would always stand up for his friends and family and had a love for life, a life that was cut short,” Dave said.

Arnold had plans to attend motorcycle technician school. When he was younger he played Pee Wee football in East Bremerton and played youth baseball in junior high and high school. He was a Boy Scout until the sixth grade. He attended Seabeck Elementary School, Mountain View Middle School, Bremerton Junior and Bremerton High School before graduating from Klahowya.

In the early morning hours of Oct. 1, Arnold’s life ended in tragedy when he got behind the wheel of his car after he had been drinking.

“Ben was put on this earth to teach us a lesson and show what happens when you drink and drive,” Thompson said.

Arnold died from a blunt force chest injury resulting from a car accident at the intersection of McWilliams Road and Central Valley Road. Arnold was driving a 1994 Chevrolet Geo Metro when he apparently failed to stop at the stop sign. His car entered 64th Street and crossed over the eastbound lane and struck a power pole. His car then crossed back over both lanes and struck an embankment and turned over. Arnold was partially ejected and pinned underneath the vehicle. The Metro was able to be up-righted, but Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue crews had to use hydraulic tools to cut Arnold out of the car. Both he and an unidentified 24-year-old male passenger were transported to Harrison Memorial Hospital.

Arnold, who was not wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead on arrival and the passenger was treated for minor injuries. The accident is currently under investigation and it is unknown if the passenger was wearing his seat belt. The accident report stated alcohol was a contributing factor in the accident and that Arnold may have been speeding.

“He’s going to be dearly missed and my loss and my tragedy has got to open the eyes of the younger generation,” Dave said. “We all want to have fun and party but you just can’t get behind that wheel and it’s something that us parents try to stress until we’re blue in the face.”

Arnold was born on May 9, 1984 in Bremerton to Dave and Suzanne (Foley) Arnold. He is survived by his daughter, Alivia Jade Kile, 14 months, of Port Orchard; his father, Dave Norman Arnold of Seabeck; his mother and stepfather, Suzanne and Brad Henry; a brother, Zach Arnold of Bremerton; three sisters, Heather Henry, Kimbra Henry and Emily Henry, all of Bremerton; a grandmother, Carol Robinson of Illahee; grandparents Hank and Millie Henry and J.R. and Patricia Collier, all of Bremerton; a great-grandmother of Seattle and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. He was preceded in death by his grandfathers and great-grandparents, Howard and Sue Crowe.

A memorial service for family and friends will be from 2 to 5 p.m. tomorrow at the Emel House at Scenic Beach State Park in Seabeck. Memorial donations may be made to Arnold’s daughter’s trust fund at Washington Mutual Bank, account No. 095-4997684. Arrangements are under the direction of Miller-Woodlawn Funeral Home.

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