Father Who Lost Son In Car Crash Has Message For Parents

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers.

The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles says the number of teens between the ages of 15 and 18 that have died since 2005 has been, on average, 160 each year.

The Highway Patrol says there have been 141 teen deaths while driving so far in 2009.

WITN spoke with a father who lost his son in an accident.

Nearly 18 months ago, 17-year-old Justin Wainwright was killed on Highway 13 near Idlewood Drive in Pitt County.

Not a day goes by that Justin's father, Michael, doesn't think about his son. He is getting through the pain with faith.

"It's been a roller coaster ride. You have good days and bad," said Wainwright. "The first four months you don't really remember, you're in a daze."

Justin had been driving for a year and a half. It's believed he was doing the speed limit and had his seat belt on. But a driver behind Justin just before the crash said it looked like the teen dropped something and looked down.

"The gentlemen behind him said it looked like he dropped something," said Wainwright. "It's just a split second of his attention, and he veered off the road in the path of a Jeep and hit straight on."

Two other people were injured in the crash but survived.

Wainwright keeps his son's memory alive through things like a quilt, which has all of Justin's favorite T-Shirts on it since he was a collector.

Holidays like Christmas are hard.

"Last year we couldn't be here for Christmas," Wainwright said. "This year we are traveling. We just can't fathom waking up and him not being here."

Wainwright says he hopes this story will get parents to talk to their kids about paying attention to the roads at all time, so they don't have to go through what he is.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Mr. Archie Location: Lithonia, Georgia on Dec 9, 2009 at 12:45 PM
    My son Matthew died Dec.18 08 in an single car accident a few blocks from home. He was my wife's heart and soul. She breast fead him 3 years. He'd just turn seventeen. Trying to avoid a deer and hit a tree. How do you go on with this in your head and help tour wife keep her sanity at the same time and still be able to function daily
  • by Barbara on Nov 29, 2009 at 12:21 PM
    For you Audra I will post my real name. I never post my name or any name. But this story touch my heart. Like Mom of teens said parents are not the blame.
  • by to Audra on Nov 29, 2009 at 12:18 PM
    I am not attacking Wilma. Just read her post again. She always saying how she teach her child to do this and that. I teach my child also. Does he always listen? NO And her child won't either. This man is grieving over his son. I am very sorry this happen to him. Yet all people of all ages have accidents. And some of these people have been driving for years. I know she gave him her condolences, but do she always have to add extra. Again I am sorry for your loss Mr. Wainright. I know you taught your son right.
  • by Friend of the Survivors on Nov 27, 2009 at 05:03 PM
    While I am extremely sorry for the loss and grief the Wainwright family has experienced, has anyone taken a minute to think about the two "survivors" that were briefly mentioned in this report? These survivors not only experienced the grief with this family, but their lives were drastically changed forever. This was a painful reminder of what the Wainwright family has experienced as well as the survivors. Physically and mentally they will NEVER be the same. They too should be considered in how such an awful and painful event can scar other famiies.
  • by Wilma on Nov 26, 2009 at 05:58 PM
    Audra, thanks for the support. I just can't imagine losing my child, and my thoughts are with this man during this difficult time. My comments are indeed passionate, but that is because my beliefs are strong. As you see, there are some that don't like that. One thing though is I never attack someone's point of view. It's usually the anons that go on the attack if they don't like what they read. It's comical actually.
  • by Wolfgang Location: Chocowinity,NC on Nov 26, 2009 at 10:13 AM
    Mr. Wainwright there are no words of mine might ease your sorrow and pain of of your unbearable loss. You honor you son by tell this story. I am sure it will save a young persons life one day. With your faith and I am sure your son will want you to find peace someday. True condolances from my family.
  • by Audra Location: SoCal on Nov 26, 2009 at 07:45 AM
    Anon, you're hiding behind being anon so you can do a drive-by angry posting. Wilma may not be your favorite poster here, but in this case I see nothing critical in her words. She was speaking from the heart about her own internal struggles & experiences AS A PARENT, which is her right. I see her considering the quandries a parent faces, not bragging. She also expressed her condolences. If you want to rant and throw a fit about her views, at least find a post where there is something to actually take issue with and post it THERE.. not just because she happens to be speaking about something and present. All you do is make yourself look sorry, especially with that crack about "I don't care if I offended you or her". What did you have Carnation Instant Grouch for dinner?
  • by Deborah Location: Farmville, NC on Nov 25, 2009 at 08:24 PM
    As a mother of a 16 year old driver, I worry about his driving. But on the other hand, I worry due to the way the so called "experienced" drivers drive. It irritates anyone when you are being tailed. That causes you to speed up to get out of the way, resulting in accidents. These type of accidents could be avoided if everyone will practice safe driving skills, not just teenagers. Please be aware and respect drivers when they are driving the speed limit or allowing the proper distance between a vehicle. Those of us that have been driving 10 years need to show our younger drivers how to drive safely. So keep this in mind the next time you come up behind someone trying to drive cautiously. This may actually save your life as well as others. My heart goes out to the Wainwright family as well as other families that have lost loved ones in accidents.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 25, 2009 at 05:20 PM
    My son have been driving every since he was 14 on the highway without me. At the time I did not know he was out on the highway. He went to a friend's house and his mother told them to take the car and go get gas and they would drive all over town. Now he is 17 with license. Does that mean if he has an accident he is not a good driver because he is a teen? No it means he made a mistake and I know sometimes it turns out to be bad, but we can't condemn people for accidents. I know it is hurtful, but it happens. There are alot of things that can cause an accident. We can't alter what is going to happen. I have been driving to my job for 11 years. I talk on my phone and my mine wanders. If I have an accident after 17 years of driving than it is an accident plain and simple. If I had my license for only 2 months than it is an accident. It is not a teenager thing it is something that happens to all ages.
  • by to OutsideLookingin on Nov 25, 2009 at 03:45 PM
    I am not attacking Wilma. It just that every story she goes on and there is a child that have committed a crime or anything else she talks about how she raises her child. I mean I do the same thing, but my son is not perfect and neither is her child. She assumes that the parent did not teach the child and that is why the situation is turned out the way it did. I don't think it is appropiate here where this man is grieving for his child. To me she is bragging. And I don't care if I offended you or her.
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