Family of teen killed in Burke County say intersection is dangerous

By: Melissa Tune Email
By: Melissa Tune Email

News 12 First at Five, November 6, 2009

WAYNESBORO, Ga.---A 15-year-old Burke County teenager was hit and killed while riding his bicycle last night. Kendrick Way was hit from behind near the intersection of Hwy 24 and Drone Road at around 6:30pm. The devastated family returned to the spot where he died today.

"She took something from us that she can never replace," said Regina Palmer, Kendrick's aunt.

Palmer, along with her sister and other relatives, returned to the scene of the accident that killed her nephew Thursday evening.

"Somebody just took his life and he didn't get to live his life fully," Palmer said. "It just ain't right, it just ain't right."

Kendrick was riding his bike heading eastbound along Hwy 24 when he was hit by a truck driven by 18-year-old Ashleigh Johnson. The markings on the road show the truck traveled approximately 60 feet before stopping.

Authorities say a preliminary investigation shows the teen's death was an accident.

An emergency medical technician, 21-year-old Steven O'Pry, was a passenger in the truck. The coroner says immediately after the accident the EMT tried to revive the teen, but he couldn't.

The family is distraught and upset.

"She took a precious child from this world," Palmer said.

According to the Georgia State Patrol, Ashleigh Johnson has not been charged, but they still have to go back to the scene to investigate further.

Family members and others who stopped by complained about that intersection, saying that that stretch of highway is dangerous. In fact, there have been at least two other accidents in that area.

Teresa Way returned to the spot where her son took his last breath. She was so grief-stricken that an ambulance was called to check her out after she fainted.

The realization that Kendrick is gone has stunned his family.

"It hurts, it hurts It's a hurting feeling, I'm gonna tell you that," Palmer said.

There have been two other confirmed accidents along that stretch in the past near that intersection. Georgia State Patrol Senior Trooper Brock Scott says he'll be visiting the scene again to get gather more evidence.

The family says there should be speed limit signs up and the limit should be enforced.

The family is planning funeral arrangements.


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