On a brilliantly sunny Saturday, dozens of teens in bikini tops or T-shirts scrubbed suds over a steady stream of SUVs and sedans at a noisy intersection in Tacoma''s West End.
The only person missing from the lively scene was the girl who united them in their task: Ashley Magnusson.
The Tacoma 16-year-old died Thursday from head trauma she suffered in a car wreck.
Some 50 friends and acquaintances of the Stadium High School junior turned out for the impromptu car wash at Sixth Avenue and Mildred Street to raise money for Ashley''s funeral. Some held fluorescent poster boards proclaiming: "Car Wash. RIP Ashley."
"I look at all this and think Ashley would be tickled," said her mother, Debbie Magnusson. "She was a little social butterfly. She''d be going up and hugging them all."
Felicia Devenny, 17, and her cousin, Erica Russell, 18, organized the car wash at the suggestion of Felicia''s mother, Alli Devenny. The mother said she thought it would allow the girls to deal with their grief while helping Ashley''s family.
The girls spread word of the car wash through MySpace.com.
"Everyone loved Ashley," Felicia said. "She had a lot of friends, too."
The event raised $4,522 to help cover funeral costs. The outpouring of support will help begin the family''s healing, Debbie Magnusson said. Surveying the parking lot packed with cars and soapy kids, Ashley''s dad, Jeff Magnusson said, "It''s just incredible."
Ashley was riding in a 2006 Honda Civic driven by a friend Wednesday night when the car crashed on Highway 7 near Eatonville.
The Washington State Patrol said the 17-year-old friend was driving too fast and lost control of the car, which ran off the road.
Ashley and her friend had spent the day swimming and enjoying the sun at Alder Lake with two male friends. One of them, Djay Thompson, 17, was a passenger in the vehicle ahead of the girls'' car when the accident happened. The two cars had become separated on the road, and it appeared the girls'' car was trying to catch up when it started fishtailing, failed to make a curve and rolled down an embankment, Djay said Saturday.
The male teens rushed to the overturned car, whose windows were smashed in the tumble. The car''s driver crawled out, but Ashley was unconscious, Djay said. They cut Ashley out of her seatbelt and pulled her out, he said.
He held her until paramedics arrived 16 minutes later.
The State Patrol said the driver was transported to Remann Hall juvenile detention center on suspicion of vehicular assault. She could eventually be charged with vehicular homicide, the State Patrol said.
No drugs or alcohol were involved, the patrol said.
"I feel bad for her family," Debbie Magnusson said of the driver. "They''re hurting, too. Unfortunately, she has to live with this the rest of her life."
Ashley was the youngest of Debbie and Jeff Magnusson''s three children.
She had a creative flair and was interested in pursuing a career in cosmetology or photography, or perhaps combining the two, said her sister Andrea.
"We wanted to live together one day," said Andrea Magnusson, 23, who recently moved home after graduating from Washington State University. "She had so many dreams."