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Wake Forest-Rolesville High has empty seats at graduation

Posted June 10, 2011

— Two seats were empty at Wake Forest-Rolesville High School's graduation Friday, honoring a senior and a junior who died in a wreck over the weekend.

A blue graduation robe was draped over a seat for senior Matthew Speight, who also would have turned 18 Friday.

A sash decorated a seat for Lane Meyer, 16, who would have been a junior marshal in the ceremony, an honor reserved for the top academic achievers in the rising class.

Heather Flowers, the older sister of the third fatal wreck victim, 16-year-old Austin Leonard Flowers, graduated.

The nearly 460 students, families and teachers also held a moment of silence during the noon ceremony at the Raleigh Convention Center.

The valedictorian's and the salutatorian's speeches did not mention the students' deaths. School officials said they did not change their speeches because they wanted to stay with a positive message.

"As we celebrate your graduation, let us take time to remind our loved ones how much we appreciate them, and let’s promise to take care of each other," said Principal Tina Hoots.

Rising senior Holden McLemore called the graduation ceremony "bittersweet."

Wake Forest-Rolesville High has empty graduation seats Wake Forest-Rolesville High has empty graduation seats

"We try to remember the good things and good memories, but it’s hard to move past this," he said.

Speight, Flowers and Meyer died in a wreck at Old Pearce and Zebulon roads Sunday evening.

State troopers said that Flowers was going 129 mph and lost control of his Dodge Challenger. It ran off the road and crashed into a tree at 90 mph.

A fourth student, Brenden Pearce, 16, survived the wreck and was in good condition at WakeMed Thursday. The four teens were heading home from an event at Rolesville Baptist Church.


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  • whatelseisnew Jun 10, 2011


    You should not have a license. You are a danger to everyone else on the road. But you are not alone, there are plenty more out there that think they know how to drive, and they do not. I hope you do not kill someone else, before you get a clue.

  • misschris234 Jun 10, 2011

    Boohoo, the car he was driving, which was a Challenger, not a Charger, had 306hp

  • misschris234 Jun 10, 2011

    Chromelexus, it was a month old car and yes, it was his car...

    And WRAL, it was a CHALLENGER...

  • MudLife Jun 10, 2011

    When i was 16 my first car was a 03 Chevrolet Z-71 my brother did a fine job of totaling that for me. Then when i got the insurance back for that i got a Mustang GT (was 17 at the time) and i loved the mess out of that car it was fast. I never got it up to 129mph though. Maybe if i took it out to the track and raced it i might have. Then a month before 21st birthday i wrecked it because i didn't see a stop sign hiding behind a light pole. Then i got a RSX which i'm thinking about trading for another Mustang GT. I know speed can kill my parents tell me everyday slow down but i just can't (yet). Sucks these 3 died but NEVER would i have the guts to drive 129 mph on a two lane road with curves. I feel like i'd have a better survival rate driving that speed on a drag strip or maybe if i was lucky on I-40 at 3AM. My thoughts and prayers are with every one but still can't believe a Challenger was bout for a 16 y/o like a $30,000 car to start out driving with.

  • Crankyone Jun 10, 2011

    At the accident scene by the skid marks and the damage done as it went through the woods, I knew they had to be hauling:( You know what is tragic? Next year at this time we will be discussing another accident with the same results. BTW the make of the car had little to do with it, you can plow a 4 door Honda Civic off the road at 90 with the same outcome or a F-150 truck.

  • el conquistador Jun 10, 2011

    Happens every year around prom and graduation time. It's a sad annual occurrence in all parts of the country when young people needlessly die as they are about to blossom into adults. A lot of us out here are very lucky something did not happen to us when did dumb things like driving/riding in a car on a curvy road at high rates of speed.Hopefully some kids will learn from this tragic event that did not have to happen.

  • ThisTooShallPass Jun 10, 2011

    Just got back from the graduation and Matt's brother (who just git back from the middle east) accepted his diploma on Matt's behalf to standing applause - there probobly wasn't a dry eye in the house that's for sure. I think a huge lesson was learned by a lot of the kids, that they aren't immortal and it could happen "to them." I know my 17 year old fellow classmate of these boys promised me last night to drive much safer from now on, and that this really made her think about the fragility of life.

  • jaredg Jun 10, 2011

    hey could have taken that curve at 129 mph if he was in a F430

  • btneast Jun 10, 2011

    stop and think what could happen in a 3-second instant.

    Teens don't do that generally, never have, never will. They are in that stage of "it's all about me".....long term thinking isn't something they do well. Peer pressure is very powerful at that stage of life.

  • Likestobearrogant Jun 10, 2011

    People this was Not a muscle car, get facts! It was a base line charger, nothing more than your basic Accord. I drive a 4 door sedan that has almost 300 hp and can reach speeds of this.. and it certainly is not a Performance car.
    To another comment they were coming from hwy 98 so they had plenty of time to get to those speeds, the skid marks on 96 are from the fatal DWI accident the day before this wreck. do you people actually read news stories or just comment for the heck of it?