KENLY, N.C. — Investigators continued their search Tuesday for answers in a head-on collision that killed two North Johnston High School juniors.
Reece Richardson, 17, and 16-year-old Nick Creech died in the crash, which occurred Sunday night on Johnston Parkway Road next to Interstate 95 south of Kenly. A passenger in Creech's truck, 16-year-old Travis Foster, is listed in fair condition at WakeMed.
"Reece was the love of our life," said Richardson's father, Rickey Richardson. "He was a sweet, sweet boy."
When the crash happened, Reece Richardson had just left his grandfather's house and had planned to meet Creech and another friend at his house, Rickey Richardson said.
Inch by inch, Highway Patrol investigators reconstructed the crash scene early Tuesday morning in an attempt to figure out which of the mangled trucks crossed the center line and caused the head-on collision.
“That's the purpose of the reconstruction – hopefully, to give us a good estimate of the speeds of both vehicles and also to determine which vehicle was on the wrong side of the highway,” said Trooper J.M. Dorsey.
Rickey Richardson said the collision was simply a tragic accident.
"It had to be a freak combination," he said. "There was no way Reece knew they were coming down that road. There was no way Nick and Travis knew Reece was coming that way."
Rickey Richardson said he talked about safe driving with his children after an accident in Raleigh last week that killed a Wakefield High School student.
"We've always been involved parents, involved with our children, with their friends," he said. "We've always tried to be role models."
Over two dozen grief counselors arrived at the high school Tuesday to help students cope with the loss.
“To help kids — either individually or in a small group — to deal with their grief as they need to,” said North Johnston principal Ross Renfrow.
Rickey Richardson said he wrote his son a letter just before he died, saying that he thought he was a great son and a great friend.
"I didn't tell him that often enough, how proud I was of him. I loved him. At the end of it, I put, 'P.S., when I get to heaven, I"ll be waiting on you at heaven's gate.' I didn't know it would be the other way around."