Father of Cary man who died in wreck says son struggled with addiction
Posted January 12, 2015
Cary, N.C. — 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.