Local News

Family, Friends Mourn Raleigh Teens Killed In I-540 Wreck One Year Ago

Posted May 30, 2002

— One year ago, four Raleigh teenagers were killed after the car they were in went out of control on Interstate 540 near Leesville Road.

The deadly wreck happened on the last day of school of 2001. The one-year anniversary of their deaths also marks the day two of those teens would have graduated from high school.

The night of May 30, 2001, Raleigh police said a Mitsubishi Eclipse convertible spun out of control, crossed the median and slammed head-on into an oncoming van, carrying a family of five.

The driver of the convertible, Bryan Reaves, 18, and passengers Matthew Yurcak, 17, Jamie Brewer, 17, and David Michael Smith, 17, were killed.

Family and friends have set up a memorial at the crash site. The tribute includes pictures and expressions of love to each of them.

Smith would have graduated from high school today. His mother, Petra, said not a day goes by that she is not depressed over losing her son.

She keeps pictures of him everywhere, and even had a portrait made after Michael's death.

Petra Smith said she does not ever want to forget her son and she wants everyone to remember him for the good person he was and could have been.

Brewer's family is planning a candlelight vigil Thursday night.

The family in the van the teenagers slammed into is doing fine. Maria Knighten was seven months pregnant at the time. She delivered a healthy baby girl named Holly. Eddie Knighten needs one more surgery to repair a broken collarbone and the Knighten's oldest daughter suffered a broken arm.

The family received a settlement as a result of the crash. Ironically on the anniversary of the accident, the family was in court finalizing terms of that settlement.

State troopers said excessive speed caused the driver to lose control.

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