Father reflects on son's death during 'Drive to Live' campaign
Posted April 10, 2012 9:40 p.m. EDT
Updated April 11, 2012 5:40 a.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — As a Johnston County man prepares to visit his son's grave on what would have been his 19th birthday, he said he hopes a North Carolina Highway Patrol teen driving initiative will prevent other parents from feeling his pain.
"You don't want to go to a graveyard and sing 'Happy Birthday' to your kid," Luther Peedin said Tuesday.
Peedin's son, Christopher "Hayden" Peedin, who would have turned 19 on Sunday, was killed last January in a wreck on his way North Johnston High School, where he was a senior. He lost control of his pickup truck, drove off the road into a ditch, flipped over and slammed into a tree.
He was speeding and wasn't wearing a seat belt, authorities said.
"I would have given a million dollars for a state trooper to be behind my son to give him a ticket that day," Luther Peedin said.
A teenager is involved in a wreck every 23 minutes in North Carolina, said Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Jorge Brewer.
"We're trying to curb the amount of teenage collisions and deaths," Brewer said.
Troopers kicked off a special enforcement and education initiative this week called "Drive to Live."
They will enforce all traffic laws around schools and conduct traffic safety education programs at high schools before the end of the school year.
Traffic crashes are the leading cause of deaths among teenagers in the country and in North Carolina, according to National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration data. By the miles driven, teens are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than adult drivers.