New details released in crash that killed 4 church members

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jim Carr By Jim Carr
Kevin Waycaster By Jennifer Thomas Kevin Waycaster By Jennifer Thomas
Micah Waycaster By Jennifer Thomas Micah Waycaster By Jennifer Thomas

CROWN KING -- The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office has released photos and additional details from the accident that killed four Glendale church members near Crown King on November 25.

An SUV driven by 16-year-old Micah Waycaster of Glendale veered off the road and plunged 100 feet, killing Waycaster and his three passengers: his father -- 47-year-old Kevin Waycaster, 67-year-old Garry Schneider and Robert Fisher, who was in his 70s.

Investigators have determined there were no witnesses to the crash. A passerby saw the SUV in the creek bed and notified church members driving in the area, who called the Sheriff's Office.

After interviewing church members, investigators believe the victims may have mistaken a narrow trail for a road. The trail went directly through mine tailings -- which consist of loose stone not embedded in the hillside. The terrain in the area is very steep, and any attempt to back out or turn around on the trail would have put the SUV in a precarious position, investigators said.

The SUV appears to have lost traction on the mine tailings along a section of the trail where the level grade had been compromised, causing lack of a defined trail edge.Those factors, along with driver inexperience, appear to have contributed to the crash.

The Sheriff's Office said one victim was ejected from the SUV and the other three victims were found inside the vehicle.