Online Tribute Posted For Two Local Young Men Killed By Drunk Driver

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On Wednesday night (June 9th), two young local men, Derek King, 18, and Nicholas Hodgins, 18, were preparing to graduate from Decatur High School in Federal Way. As they were returning from a gathering with other seniors in Bellevue, their Honda Civic broke down and was stopped in the center southbound lane of I-5.

Tragically, a drunk driver rammed his SUV into their car, killing them both. King would’ve celebrated his 19th birthday on Thursday, June 10th. Another classmate, Anthony Beaver, survived the crash.

Derek and Nick were both students at Highline’s Puget Sound Skills Center, and were studying to become chefs. They attended half their school day in Federal Way and half at the skills center in the culinary arts program.

The B-Town Blog extends its deepest sympathies for the families and friends of these young men, and reminds others to just stop drinking and driving.

An online tribute to the men has been posted here; here are some excerpts from it:

D-Rock, as he was known to all of us, was an amazing young man. He had recently completed his second year in the program and was recognized with the Golden Toque Award for his outstanding contribution. His team had just won a culinary competition at Renton Technical College, had earned 51 college credits for furthering his education, and was heading to Chicago this summer to design and implement a breakfast menu for a restaurant needing a fresh start.

He had boundless energy, a dopey grin and a sense of humor that kept you laughing. He was a tireless worker and excelled in the kitchen and serving customers. There were many days when he almost missed his bus home because he was still working and had lost track of time. In a letter of recommendation written for him we stated that we looked forward to hearing of all his future successes. Thank you Derek for all you accomplished and we will always remember you.

Nick started in the culinary program last summer and loved it so much he came back for the full school year. He was quick to master technical skills and excelled in the academic components of the course as well. He had the kindest heart and the most welcoming smile that came from the depths of a genuinely wonderful human being.

While he had not yet finally decided on pursuing a culinary career he said that he had now narrowed down his choices on which passion to pursue and was grateful for the opportunity to develop so many skills that he could use throughout his life.

The old standby report card comment “Was a pleasure to have in class” cannot express deeply enough how true that was for all of us.

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