Marc Bathrick, 21, and his girlfriend Kelly Brown, 16, a junior, were driving along Wimberly Road in Apex when, investigators say, Bathrick lost control of his Pontiac Grand Prix and hit a tree.
"I think the pain is difficult for (Apex High School students) because they didn't think it could happen to them," said school counselor Michelle Pittelli. "That's the concerning part about adolescence -- that they don't think it's ever going to happen to them. And they don't -- usually it's the first time they've had to deal with them."
But it isn't the first time for Apex High School. Two students and a recent graduate have died in alcohol-related accidents over the past school year.
"Certainly, as a school, and having it happen to us frequently, we're going to look to see if there's something else we need to be doing," Pittelli said.
Administrators said they are now looking to see what they can do to educate students on making better decisions when it comes to driving or riding as a passenger. Some ideas include hosting panel discussions or having officers visit the school to tell students about what they have seen.
"I hope all of (the students) will take a look at this and start making better decisions about who they're riding with," said Apex High Assistant Principal Luther Thomas.
Court records show Bathrick had been arrested in April for a DWI and that his license had been suspended. Three other people in the car -- including Brown's twin sister -- asked to get out of the car Saturday night when they said Bathrick began driving erratically.
"Just by looking at the car, I think that if they had not gotten out, we would have probably had some more deaths on our hands," Thomas said.
Students said Monday that perhaps there needs to be a stronger message about reckless driving and drinking-and-driving. Just telling them not to do it, they said, isn't going to help.
"You think that all this stuff won't happen to you, but now that we're seeing this in the schools, it's starting to affect, I think, some people," said junior Tyler Sax. "(They are) stepping back and saying, 'I think this actually can affect us.'"
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