Local News

Millbrook High School Graduate Killed in Motorcycle Accident

Posted April 20, 2008
Updated April 21, 2008

— A Raleigh family is mourning the loss of a son killed in a motorcycle crash.

Cameron Wagner, 20, died Thursday in Cullowhee.

The 2006 graduate of Milbrook High School was very active – the drum captain in the marching band and a member of the roller-hockey team.

"He loved speed in everything that he did," his father, David Wagner, said.

Wagner was riding his motorcycle with friends on Tilley Creek Road, about 2.5 miles from the Western Carolina University campus, when he lost control and crashed Thursday at about 11:45 a.m.

Doctors pronounced Wagner dead at Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva.

"I can't think of anything more devastating than burying a child,” David Wagner said.

The Highway Patrol said speed was not a factor and that inexperience riding a motorcycle likely contributed to the crash. Wagner's parents said they were unaware their son had a motorcycle.

"When they told me it was Cameron, I said, 'It can't be because he doesn't have a motorcycle,'” mother Cindy Wagner said.

Wagner was following in his father's footsteps by studying engineering at WCU. His funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at North Raleigh United Methodist Church.


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  • 1opinion Apr 21, 2008

    rlewis, why do you hate motorcycles? Do you hate cars? Planes? guns? The motorcycle did not kill anyone.
    Any adventuresome activity has risk, skydiving, scuba diving, mtn climbing, racing, etc. The key is learning about the risk and how to avoid them, then practice in a controlled environment or live in fear.

    As for delaying the licensing age, how long would you wait.
    This young man was 20 years old. 25, 35, 45?

  • Longshanks Apr 21, 2008

    I agree with WXYZ. I've been riding motorcycles (Harley cruisers) for almost 20 years and nothing beats experience. You can take the MSF course, and it's great, but NOTHING beats experience on the road. And it seems younger kids with the sport bikes go about riding with reckless abandon like they're invincible. Take heed from this as you're NOT. Our group goes to the mountains riding every year, and it's not a place for inexperienced riders to be. Some very experienced riders still have a hard time on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and especially at places like Deal's Gap. My prayers go out to the family and friends of this young man. Remember to look twice and save a life. MOTORCYCLES ARE EVERYWHERE!!

  • rlewis Apr 21, 2008


    A guy I went to high school with died on a motorcycle. I got to look at his empty desk the rest of the school year after the accident. A guy I worked with wrecked his on US-1, could have died but "luckily" he only permanently ruined his arm when he flew into the guard rail.

    Another guy I know who used to ride for years and years told me something like "It's not a question of 'if' you'll wreck, it's a question of 'when'?"

    Why? Why? STUPID.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Apr 21, 2008

    The only way for this not to happen is to not get on a bike and that's just not going to happen

    Accidents are going to happen, whether you are in a car, train, bus, plane and helicopter etc. People need to follow the rules of the road. A motorcyle is not like a car.

  • hkypky Apr 21, 2008

    WXYZ: That's no doubt and excellent suggestion but the fact is that accidents happen to riders of all ages and experience levels; with and without specialty training.

    I won't argue against additional training. I also would not argue against raising the minimum age for a Motorcycle license. However, training means being on the road on a bike and delaying issuing a license means reducing the amount of on-road experience the rider can get.

    So as sad as this particular story is, so are the other stories as well as those that are yet to be written.

    The only way for this not to happen is to not get on a bike and that's just not going to happen.

  • Greyhound_Girl Apr 21, 2008

    I took the MSF course 3 years ago, before I bought my bike. It was a great course and very inexpensive. Most of the community colleges in the area host this course every weekend. Well worth the $100 for the knowledge that I gained. There is also a Advanced riders course for those who have been riding a while, it's supposed to be a "refresher".

  • WXYZ Apr 21, 2008

    Very sad indeed. I can not agree more strongly about the Motorcycle Safety Foundation ("MSF") course, which is 24 hours of rigorous classroom and skill building. From years of personal experience and that of my biker friends, it takes AT LEAST 10K miles of experience before one can begin to feel competent and comfortable when operating a motorcycle. Sadly, most of the younger riders I see, prefer the "sport bike" (AKA "Crotch Rocket"), and many ride these high performance bikes with reckless disregard for their safety and that of others. Under developed skills, and ignorance, immaturity, inexperience and emotional instabilty are a risky mix for any motor vehicle operator. Live to Ride and Ride to Live.

  • tesy Apr 21, 2008

    very sad.

  • mike honcho Apr 21, 2008

    Thoughts and prayers go out to the family, No parent should ever have to bury a child. I can't begin to imagine the grief the family is feeling right now.

  • 1opinion Apr 21, 2008

    So sad for the parents, my worst nightmare. "Dontbelieve" is right. This is why I took my 16 year old (now 17), to the MSF basic rider course, why he rides with me only and why I choose the bike he rides. "Controlled exposure" I call it. Not knowing the details it might not have helped this young man, but statistically speaking the MSF course saves lives, it's around $100 and available locally almost every weekend.