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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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