June 8, 2010 · 10:55 AM
A memorial is scheduled June 9, 1 p.m., at San Juan County Park on San Juan Island for John W. Parish, who died May 31 in a single-car crash near Cattle Point Road and Madden Lane.
Dana Kempton, who the Sheriff's Department believes was the driver, was treated at Harborview Medical Center and released. The crash is under investigation. Sheriff Bill Cumming said vehicle speed and alcohol are believed to have been factors.
Local singer/songwriter Britt K. Arnesen has recorded a song, "Memorial Day on Cattle Point Road," about the fatal crash and its impact on the community and on the Kempton and Parish families.
In her accompanying blog, she writes of her encounters with the man she nicknamed "John Banjo."
"At first I thought it would be best to keep this song to myself, that I could best honor the families involved by staying out of it. But this is life or death," she writes. "I won’t sit back while young people in my generation make choices to throw their lives away. I don’t have an answer except to try to speak my heart in song. It’s what I do. I know John Banjo would have appreciated being eulogized in song, and would have wanted his life to stand for something. I would hope some day that one of my songs could help a young person make the right choice."