Local News

3 Roses Memorialize 3 Teens, Best Friends

Posted November 5, 2007 6:24 p.m. EST
Updated November 5, 2007 11:51 p.m. EST

— Motorists on Fire Tower Road stop and look at three white roses that sit at the base of a tree. The roses are a roadside memorial for three teenagers and best friends who died there in a single-vehicle crash Sunday morning.

Jeffrey Alston, 16, was driving Brandon Womble, 15, and Demetrius Alston, 13, around 11 a.m. when he lost control of his vehicle coming around a curve. The 1991 Lexus ran off the road, hit a tree, overturned and hit a second tree before landing on the side of the road

Troopers said it appeared all the teens were killed on impact and were not wearing seat belts. Jeffrey was likely speeding, officials said.

On Monday, their families, classmates and community drew together to grieve for the three teenagers. Jeffrey and Brandon attended Northwood High School. Demetrius was a seventh-grader at Horton Middle School.

"That's the devastating part of it. They hadn't started living their lives yet," resident Archie Cross said. He stopped at the roadside memorial to remember the boys.

Relatives said Demetrius, who had just turned 13, had a big personality and was loved everyone. His 5-year-old brother, especially, looked up to him.

"He meant the world to me. He was my firstborn," Novella Alston, Demetrius' mother, said. "I can't imagine life without him."

Demetrius' father, Kenneth Alston, said he was proud of his son, a budding basketball player. Demetrius had just made the first cut for his school's team and was about to go for the second round of tryouts.

"We fished and hunted. He was my best friend," Kenneth Alston said.

Family members said Brandon, Jeffrey and Demetrius talked constantly when they were together and quieted only when they were asleep.

"It's real tough. Even right now, it's hard to take in," Lee Seymour, Jeffrey's stepfather, said. "He (Jeffrey) was the bright spot in this family."

Jeffrey loved video games, his stepfather said.

Grief counselors helped students at both schools deal with their classmates' death, a spokeswoman for Chatham County schools said. Dr. Ann Hart, county school superintendent, said letters will go out to parents explaining the fatal accident.

Students at Northwood were creating banner and memory books about Jeffrey and Demetrius.

Family members said they are planning a joint service for the three boys, which will probably be held at Northwood later this week.

"Always make sure you tell your kids you love them, because you don't ever want to be where I'm at right now," Novella Alston said.