Local News

North Johnston High student killed in wreck

Posted January 20, 2011

— A North Johnston High School student died Thursday morning in a crash, authorities said.

Christopher Hayden Peedin, 17, was eastbound on Hinnant-Edgerton Road at about 6:45 a.m. when he lost control of his 1997 Toyota pickup near the intersection with Princeton-Kenly Road, according to the state Highway Patrol. The truck went off the road and into a ditch, flipped and slammed into a tree, killing Peedin.

Authorities said Peedin, a senior at North Johnston High, was on his way to pick up a friend to head to school.

Troopers said he was driving 65 to 70 mph at the time of the crash. The posted speed limit along the road is 55 mph. Troopers also noted that he wasn't wearing a seat belt.

The wreck happened in front of John Cunningham's house.

"This is a tragic, tragic event, and Johnston County has had too many of these incidents," Cunningham said.

Peedin is the second Johnston County student to die in a week in a traffic wreck.

Johnston County student killed in crash Johnston County student killed in crash

Kyle Kozlowski, a senior at Clayton High School, was killed late Friday when he lost control of his speeding car on Loop Road near Covered Bridge Road east of Clayton. He was buried Thursday.

"It seems to be hitting this one target population, and I just wish the young people would understand it's very important to slow down," Cunningham said.

Peedin's father echoed that advice for drivers.

"Keep under the speed limit and wear your seat belt," he said. "Unfortunately, he didn't have his on."

Johnston County Schools has partnered with county leaders to start a safe-driving initiative, called Peer to Peer Safe Teen Driving. Driving experts are training students at each of the 10 high schools in the county on promoting safe driving and keeping driving distractions to a minimum.

Luther Peedin said his son, who was a junior firefighter and a member of his high school wrestling team, planned to join the Coast Guard after he graduated this spring.

"He grew up to be the greatest kid you could ask for," he said while fighting back tears.

"His love, I mean, you can't get that back, brother," he said. "My heart and soul is gone, man. I've lost all the tears. I've not got no heart and soul. I miss my son. I wish I had him back."

Johnston County Schools officials said grief counselors were at the high school Thursday for students and staff.

Superintendent Ed Croom said, "I am deeply saddened whenever a student death occurs. I urge all students to drive safely. Our prayers go out to the families of those who have experienced the loss of loved ones."

Tim Harrell, prinicpal at North Johnston High, issued a similar statement. He said, "The North Johnston family is deeply saddened at the loss of Hayden. He was an outstanding young man and an important member of our senior class and school family. He was a devoted wrestler and was involved in many school activities. He loved his school and we loved him. His positive impact on our school will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. He will always be a Panther."

The wrestling team canceled a match scheduled for Thursday evening to mourn for their teammate.


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  • LoveOf3 Jan 21, 2011

    My heart aches for the Peedin family, friends and NOJO students. I have to agree with Mrs. Richardson. God is in control and only He knows when He is going to call His child home. I understand that there have been a lot of teen accidents in our communities however please reminder to keep the family and friends in mind when you are making your comments. Some of your think you are tring to prove a point but you are making it worse for the ones grieving for a sweet young man. We too were young and made mistakes and none one of us are perfect. Give the family time to grieve for their son. Parents you can talk to your child about your worries or concerns in private, not for the public to read!!! Have RESPECT!!!!!!! RIP Hayden... You will forever live in our hearts

  • newsmonkey Jan 21, 2011

    "Seat belts could have saved at least 74 lives and 7.2 million dollars during the period from October 1, 1987 to July 1, 1989 in patients seen in the seven trauma centers in North Carolina," according to a 1993 study. And I'd bet that recent statistics show the same results. It's such a simple thing. Buckle up, save lives, save medical costs.

  • hirep Jan 21, 2011

    Please think about the comments you make in a situation like this. some are very nice and heartfelt but others could hurt the family I know from experience. My son Reece Leighton Richardson was killed Jan 21 2007. He was from NJHS and His sister Rebecca is a senior with Hayden. Reece was not speeding and was weearing a seatbelt but yet he died..Today is 4 years and I miss my little boy so much but I know my number 11 is playing in Heaven. I thank God for the 17 years he gave me with this precious gift..Many people ask WHY ? Why did they do this why did they do that. I truly understand today that there are some answers we will not have this side of Heaven.The fact is every thing and everyone belongs to our creator Jesus Christ and he can take anything he wants from us and use it to his good, I don't like it in human terms but I know he knows best. Becky and I speak at school functions and Rebecca has recently spoke. The real answer is make sure your child knows Jesus.and make certain

  • ccacrabbitdog Jan 21, 2011

    hate it for family...i'm just glad to see people r not blaming the police ...like they have in the past....btu people talking about when school opens have me confused....that has nothing to do with someone speeding and not wearing a seatbelt......

  • edbundy41 Jan 21, 2011

    My son just got on the local fire dept as a junior firefighter as well. I look at this young man and I pray this will not happen to me or his mother. NO parent should have to bury their children.I always preach to my son about speed and safety. I can only pray and trust god . My heart goes out to the Peedin Family! As a retired Fire Fighter and Paramedic I have been at the scenes of fatal accidents where they had their seat belts on and passed away and I have seen the ones who would have lived if they did have them on in such a simple accident. If it is your time and God calls you home then it is your time.But I will always wear my belt better to be a little safer than sorry.I also feel there should be a chip in cars and trucks that these teens drive to regulate speed until they get more experience behind the wheel this might would cut the fatalities and accidents rates way down. They used to have them on school buses when teenagers drove them . Just a thought!

  • kimC Jan 21, 2011

    I live in Johnston Co. and have seen the lives of our young PPLE whom have lost their lives due to NOT wearing seat belts and speed..I am saddened dearly for them and the families they left behind for these careless acts. WHAT is it going to take for them to wake UP!!!!

  • pshall2003 Jan 21, 2011

    To the little fellow that was riding my bumper this morning and then passing me and two other vehicle's, and riding the school bus bumper in a 35 mph zone: SLOW DOWN! Either get up earlier for school or skip breakfast. It's not worth it. It breaks my heart to see the kids still driving so reckless after everything that has happened! What is it going to take?

  • miseem Jan 20, 2011

    This is tragic - two in one week, both speeding & no seat belts. The situation is not helped by some people saying wearing seat belts should be your choice & that wearing one may kill you. Some accidents are so severe nothing can save you, but I can't think of many situations where a seatbelt would cause your death but you would have lived unbuckled. I've heard lots of people report that EMT/LEO said "I would have died if I had a seat belt on". I've know a lot of both groups and never had one report saying that. Some people survive dropping from a plane without a working parachute, but your odds are astronomically better with a chute (hey, my jump master said if I'd used a chute, I'd have landed in that lake & drowned!). Seat belts save lives and reduce injuries. Show me a study that disproves that.

  • emeraldangeleyes Jan 20, 2011

    my thoughts and prayers go to the families. gone too soon

  • cwood13 Jan 20, 2011

    My son is a junior at North Johnston. The kids are on the road so early, because they have to be at school by 7:15.

    JoCo has had an large number of teenage traffic fatalities for years now. In addition to things that the school board and county are doing to try to reduce these, the DA has done something as well, that I feel EVERY TEENAGE driver should have to take - before they get a ticket. If a teenage driver gets a speeding ticket, they have to attend a program at JCC on a Saturday, called StreetSafe. My son had to attend it, and since he is under 18, I had to attend part of it with him. IT IS AN AMAZING COURSE! It really had an effect on my son and his driving! He told me he learned more in that day than he learned in all of driver's ed and the Alive at 25 program - he was required to take to get a parking permit.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the Peedin family, as well as all the students at NOJO that are suffering after this tragic loss.