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Father of Cary man who died in wreck says son struggled with addiction

Posted January 12, 2015

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— Seven months after a car crash that claimed the life of 20-year-old Chase Rodgers, police returned the wrecked vehicle to his father, Darryl Rodgers, bringing back a flood of memories.

“I miss his sense of humor. He always kept us laughing, you know,” Darryl Rodgers said.

In the car, he found a medallion he gave his son just days before his death. On one side, the words “put on the full armor of God” are imprinted.

“Finding this sort of was another level closure for me,” he said.

The car was returned because the driver charged in the May 29 wreck, Stacy Bergeron, recently died in a Raleigh apartment fire, and the case is now closed.

Fire officials determined Bergeron started the fire because she was suicidal. Friends say she never got over Chase Rodgers’ death. The two met when they were students at Cary High School.

Bergeron had no alcohol in her system and small traces of marijuana.

Darryl Rodgers said he believes Bergeron was actually driving the car because his son was impaired and she was not. He said his son struggled with drug addiction.

“The whole circle of friends that he was running with at that point, there's a whole drug culture there,” he said. “I think parents need to be aware of how bad it is. It's a lot worse than most people think.”

Chase's room at his parents' house remains intact, and so does Rodgers' love for his son. He is writing a book about Chase’s life in the hopes it will inspire young people to make better choices.

"One of the messages I would like to send to young people is that where you end up in life five to 10 years down the road is going to be dependent upon the people you associate with and the choices you make," he said.

Darryl Rodgers said marijuana seems to be a gateway drug for many who end up with addictions.

"You could go to any rehab facility in the country and talk to teenagers and young adults who have a bad drug problem, and I'd say probably 98 percent of them started out smoking marijuana," he said.

Darryl Rodgers said he was close with his son. He went to all Chase's football games. They worked out together, fished together and loved to throw the football around.

“Don't let a day go by that you don't tell your kids how much you love them and give them a hug,” he said.


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  • Lightfoot3 Jan 13, 2015

    "He's an expert on his kid. And that's really all he's talking about. " - wral_viewer

    Right. But then he starts talking about pot, gateway drugs, etc, and turns it into what might be seen as a political statement given what's going on today. I'd rather kids not smoke pot, but I'm more worried about the alcohol given it's more devastating and immediate effects.

    "studies have shown that more than 80% of those that use harder drugs, started with pot" -notexactly

    85% of the people that die in the United States have eaten green beans. Coincidence? Maybe, but I'm not touching them and taking the chance!!!

  • wral_viewer Jan 13, 2015

    View quoted thread

    Alcohol is legal, but it is in no way "safer" than marijuana.

    My personal viewpoint is that if your are habitually using substances to alter your mind and mood, you have a dependency. It depends on the substance in regard to what health risks (long and short term) you are taking.

    The access and widespread uses of lots of substances (including ADD meds) is a valid concern/warning to parents. Kids don't always have the correct information/understanding of risks and dependency. Many of these substances with high health risks can create dependencies in a very short period of time.

    We're a self-medicating culture..and if you are going from one (relatively safe) substance to another...well, that's where we get into trouble.

  • notexactly Jan 13, 2015

    View quoted thread

    Perhaps. but the studies have shown that more than 80% of those that use harder drugs, started with pot. I am sure there are many ( like yourself) that use pot and do not take other drugs. But you are in the small percentage group. My question to all drug users is why? Why do it, and why take the chance of getting bad dope. If you want a high, get drunk and don't drive. Its safer and legal. Its you knuckle heads that push the envelope who are the problems. You then blame others for your ignorance and claim I can smoke pot and drive fine. Just like the guy putting up siding at a guys house I know and said that they stay high all day and all is good. That was right before he cut his toes off with a skill saw and know cant walk to good. Furthermore, his workers comp denied the claim cause he was high. Smart bunch of people in the pot loving groups. Again, your choice, your bed to lie in!! can anyone say mandatory drug testing??? YOUR FIRED

  • common tater Jan 13, 2015

    I think we’re creating a culture that says mind-altering drugs are OK. It’s all over TV/movies/internet, and with many states legalizing it, young people think it’s fine. What’s curious to me is all the people who use it say it’s not addicting, yet they tend to use it for many years or their entire life on a regular basis. I'm sure alcohol does cause more problems...but that doesn't justify allowing another drug to bring down the country. I SO wish I knew how to make youth understand the importance of who they hang around with…so often entire lives are changed due one wrong friend choice. Prayers for the family.

  • wral_viewer Jan 13, 2015

    View quoted thread

    This man is speaking about his family's experience. If that doesn't include alcohol as the biggest risk factor for his kid, then why would he speak about it?

    He's an expert on his kid. And that's really all he's talking about.

    And perhaps, he's speaking (in)directly to the parents of the kids he was hanging around with. Perhaps he's wanting them to know that it's not just marijuana. And it's his kid and not theirs...this time. Or maybe he's talking (in)directly to the kids themselves.

    I give him credit. I do think parents don't realize how easy and widespread serious drug use is in the HS setting. I have kids a few years apart and even my older one was surprised at how much, how bold (like taking certain drugs to school functions), and what substances kids were using just a few years later.

  • BlahBlahBlahBlahBlah Jan 13, 2015

    View quoted thread


  • Lightfoot3 Jan 13, 2015

    The father is right, about hanging with the wrong people, and making wrong choices, etc. However, while some of you might think this father is now some kind of expert on pot, I'd be willing to bet that alcohol causes more problems in this country.

  • bjmurra2 Jan 13, 2015

    Nice way to add that little tid bit about Marijuana becoming a gateway drug. What about cigarettes and alcohol? Pretty sure most youngins will puff a cig or take a drink of beer before they try marijuana.

    BUT only one thing out of those 3 has never killed anyone. Can you guess which?

  • wral_viewer Jan 13, 2015

    Much credit to the father...he's choosing to speak out about addiction and his son's issues in order to educate others. He could have chosen not to say a word.

    As far as gateway comments. Of course there are people that don't go beyond marijuana, but I think his point is that you can't always count on that to be the case, particularly with kids. He's trying to make parents aware. They try one substance and may not have the maturity or knowledge to realize that the next one they try has a completely different set of risks. By the time they do...it's too late, they've already become dependent.

    At least, that's what my takeaway is.

  • Paul M Jan 13, 2015