RALEIGH, N.C. — Police say speed and alcohol were factors in a crash that killed an 18-year-old man in Raleigh.
WTVD-TV reported that Johnathon Gregory Taylor died Sunday morning when his car went careening off Hunting Ridge Road near Tanbark Drive.
The single-vehicle accident happened around 10:40 p.m. Saturday. Friends have already left behind flowers at the site.
Caution tape surrounds the storm drain that police say Taylor hit before crashing into a tree.
“He always had a smile, he was always real happy,” said Robert Vaughn, a longtime friend of Taylor’s. “I’ve gone to school with him since middle school. I still remember the first day of middle school. We had football in the summer.”
Eight years of friendship later, Vaughn never would have imagined he would be laying a flower on the site where his friend passed away.
Raleigh police say just after 10:30 p.m. Saturday night, Taylor went driving on Hunting Ridge Road in Raleigh when he went off the road near Tanbark Drive. They say he hit a storm drain then crashed into a tree, taking the bark right off. Police say he was alone and died on scene.
“John had such a great future ahead, he was going to South Carolina, he was a brilliant guy, he’s the sweetest guy I’ve ever met,” said Parker Burrus, another longtime friend of Taylor’s.
Nicole Chappel was driving nearby hours after the crash and say police were still on scene after 2 a.m. Sunday.
“In my heart I just kind of knew something had to have happened,” she said.
She was right. Hunting Ridge Road is a residential area with curvy roads and a speed limit of 30 miles per hour. This tragedy has taken away someone’s son, and someone who was a friend to so many.
Taylor recently graduated from Ravenscroft High school. His friends say he lives in this area and was most likely heading home.
No word yet on how fast he was driving.