Teens mourned: Friends say crash victims were ‘like brothers to the end’
By KIPP ROBERTSON
North Kitsap Herald Education/Sports Reporter
February 11, 2011 · Updated 10:07 AM
Correction: A memorial service for Anthony Polito is scheduled for 3 p.m., Feb. 16 at Christ Memorial Church. An incorrect time was reported in an earlier story.
POULSBO — Anthony Polito would have turned 19 on Monday.
But instead of celebrating his birthday, friends gathered at Polito’s mother’s house to remember the former North Kitsap High student who was killed with his friend Joel Woodworth in a crash early Saturday morning on Finn Hill Road.
The mourners shared stories about his love of music, his loyalty to his family and friends.
Before the sun set, 19 mourners each let go of a balloon, one for each year of their friend’s life.
Tuesday, the teens’ family and friends gathered at a makeshift memorial at the crash site to pay tribute.
“I’m fully convinced he is in heaven, and I will see him again,” Tricia Woodworth said of her 18-year-old son.
The teen’s lives were cut short before 2 a.m. Saturday when the Ford SUV in which they were riding veered off the roadway on 2600 block of NW Finn Hill Road, struck a utility pole and caught fire. The crash is still under investigation, although investigators believe vehicle speed was a factor. Polito and Woodworth were the SUV’s only occupants. It is not known who was driving.
Woodworth’s memorial service is scheduled Saturday, 2:30 p.m., at Christ Memorial Church in Poulsbo. Polito’s memorial service is scheduled Feb. 16, 3 p.m., at Christ Memorial.
The North Kitsap School District sent a message to parents letting them know that counselors are available for students. “We are also in contact with (the victims’) families to offer our condolences during this sad time.”
Polito and Woodworth are remembered as inseparable, long-time buddies whose friendship was forged at Breidablik Elementary School.
“Everywhere one person went, the other went,” Codie Allen, 17, said. “They were like brothers to the end.”
Lindsay Layton, a Kingston High School junior, said she recently saw a picture of Polito and Woodworth which read, “12 years as friends.”
“Twelve years,” Layton said. “… those two were attached at the hip.”
Tricia Woodworth said her son, a student in North Kitsap High School’s Parent Assisted Learning program, was a natural athlete who enjoyed skiing and fishing for king salmon. He had been “begged” by the high school football coach to play for the team.
Layton said Woodworth was known for his sense of humor and caring for others. They met at church during seventh grade, and would sneak out of church to go on walks together.
“I just saw him a couple weeks ago,” Layton said. “He had the biggest smile on his face.”
Symone Carr, a junior at North Kitsap High School, said Woodworth would crack jokes to lighten the mood when his friends were upset, and would then listen to the issues his friends were dealing with.
“That’s how he would get you to open up to him. He would make you laugh and then you would tell him everything,” Carr said.
Like Woodworth, Polito attended local schools: Breidablik Elementary, Poulsbo Middle School and, until last year, North Kitsap High.
Codie Allen described them as loving and loyal friends. “(Anthony) was the brother I always wanted,” he said. “Joel was a good-looking kid who always looked after everybody else. He was always worried about everybody else.”
Allen remembered a 2 a.m. walk he took with Polito to get doughnuts. Whether it was playing video games, rocking out on his guitar, or random walks around town, “Every day was a new day with Anthony, every day a new adventure,” Allen said.
Casey Henrion, 18, said he knew Polito for “quite a few years” and was invited to live with the family when he was trying to kick his drug addiction.
Henrion said Polito and his mom, Trudy, loved him and didn’t give up on him.
“I would wake up in the middle of the night, throwing up, and he was right there with me, patting me on the back. He told me he loved me and didn’t want me to die,” Henrion said. “He was not willing to give up on me.”
Henrion said Polito convinced him to check into treatment and get sober.
“They showed me a better way of life,” he said.
Henrion said he is now a Christian and writes Christian rap music. “I’m writing a song for Anthony. Anthony saved my life.”Contact North Kitsap Herald Education/Sports Reporter Kipp Robertson at email@example.com or (360) 779-4464.