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Funeral Held For Teen Killed In Durham Jeep Accident

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DURHAM, N.C. — Friends and family gathered at Duke Chapel Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the life of Matthew West.

"We are devastated by the loss of our Mattie," Adrian West said at his son's service. "We remain puzzled and mystified why such a senseless accident had to happen. Just as Matthew left unfinished business with his life, there is unfinished business surrounding this tragedy. We will continue to explore the myriad issues for the benefit of the community. God bless our son in heaven."

The 17-year-old died Sunday after being thrown from a Jeep in a collision with a Durham police officer on July 22.

West had so much going for him -- youth, talent and a loving family.He was taken off life-support machines at Duke Medical Center Sunday at the request of his family.

"He wouldn't have wanted to stay here if he couldn't be his whole self," his mother said.

Durham police said Officer Alfred Rodriguez ran through a flashing red light at the intersection of Morehead and Vickers Ave. last week.

West was riding in the back seat of a Jeep when it slammed into the patrol car. He was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle.

Rodriguez has been charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.

The West family said their son and brother spent his young life giving back to others.

"The things that we can take with us from Matthew's positive attitude and the love he spread around the community," his father said.

The family has set up the Matthew Paul West Foundation to benefit community organizations that were a part of their son and brother's life.

Donations can be made to:

Matthew Paul West Foundation 6303 Acorn Ridge Trail Hillsborough, N.C. 27278

West was a counselor at Camp Kanata and was active in Young Life.

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