Mother of Surry County teen killed in car accident speaks to his peers about choices

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DOBSON, N.C. -- The choices you make today can affect the rest of your life. That was the theme before hundreds of Surry County high school students Friday morning as the North Carolina State Highway Patrol presented them with a program they’ve named “Choices.”

“If you get involved in a fatal crash, who do you think goes and gives the death notification to your loved one?” Master Trooper J.G. Leonard asked a Surry Central High School student. “I do.”

On May 9, the students at Surry Central will partake in their 2015 prom festivities. To get out in front of the dangers which go along with prom night, the Highway Patrol spoke to three different schools in Surry County.

“The choices you make today will effect what you end up doing today, tomorrow, for prom,” said Master Trooper Leonard.

Multiple Surry County students have tragically died as a result of car wrecks in recent memory. In an effort to make the students realize how these deaths have affected the families of those students, the Highway Patrol called on a special guest; Nikki Cline.

Cline is the mother of Gage Edwards, an East Surry High School student and star athlete, who died as a result of a wreck on January 31, 2015.

“Gage thought he was indestructible,” Cline said. “I thought he was indestructible. We all found out otherwise.”

Edwards died days later at the hospital. Investigators told FOX8 that he was speeding at the time. However, Cline released new information about the crash while speaking to the students.

“What they didn’t report, is that he was texting while he was driving,” Cline said. “I know this because he was texting me.”

Cline told the students that she didn’t realize Edwards was driving at the time. She says the fact that she did not put the two together is something that will haunt her forever.

“I didn’t make him pick up his phone, but I definitely gave him that temptation,” she said.

Master Trooper Leonard asked the students to participate in an exercise, where they closed their eyes and pictured themselves driving 55 mph and crashing into an immovable object.

Master Trooper Leonard told them, that at a half a second after impact, “steel from the vehicle will puncture your lungs and arteries. Blood will begin to spurt into your lungs.” He continued, saying “blood will leak from your mouth, shock will freeze your heart and in seven-tenths of a second, you are dead.”

He added that, they “may not feel a thing. But your loved ones will, the people in this community will.”

Cline closed by telling the students, when it comes to distractions while driving, “whatever it is, whoever it is you need to talk to, wherever it is you think you need to be; it can wait.”

She then asked them to remember Edwards, “remember how you feel, if you were close to him and you hurt, because he’s gone.”

Before telling them that she came there in the hope that she would touch one of them, but was praying she would touch all of them, and that after listening to her story, they will make the right choices.

“If you choose otherwise,” she said, “you may find yourself like my son.”