Bedford Co., VA - This year will unfortunately be remembered by many as a dangerous and deadly year for teens on our roads.
Bedford County was hit particularly hard, with five high school students losing their lives in four separate crashes. Those crashes happened just weeks, in some cases just days apart.
Thomas Dickenson lost his grandson, 15-year-old Allen Dickenson, a student at Liberty High School, in a crash in Montvale in October.
"That's not what you're supposed to do. You raise them," said Thomas Dickenson. "Old people are supposed to die first."
Yet it was a scene that played out over and over this fall, deadly crashes involving Bedford County teens.
"I just saw her. She was getting ready to go and I said 'I love you,'" said Ron Long.
Ron Long is the father of 15 year old Hannah Long, the second Liberty High School student killed in a crash in October.
"I wish I would have said 'Be careful. Wear your seatbelt. Don't be out. Do what you're supposed to doing," said Long.
But then November proved to be just as sad, and even more deadly. Two Staunton River students, 17-year-old Jacob Baird and 16-year-old Katie Thurston, died in a crash on Route 24 on the way to school. The crash changed the mood at school that day, and for days to come.
"This is a school that's pretty upbeat about everything. Walking down the hallways people are joking, laughing. Not the past couple of days," said Logan Merrill, a Staunton River student. "You walk down the hallway and people are silent."
There was another roadside memorial on Route 24, less than a week later. This time police say 17-year-old Ashley Barton, a third Staunton River Student, died attempting to miss a deer.
"It's the same effect. Everybody is trying to come together and support each other," said Camy Mullins, a Staunton River student. "I think we're gonna start the healing process all over again."
The community has been coming together to find solutions since these tragedies.
The father of a Staunton River student organized a teen/parent driving forum at the school recently. About 50 people attended.
Nearly 200 students from Bedford County's three high schools recently participated in YOVASO training, to learn how to talk to their peers about safe driving.