Local mother hopes to save teen lives with message one year after son’s death

BURLINGTON, N.C. -- It’s a mother’s love that drives Mona Rena Johnson, and it’s the love a community has for her late son Kie that brought them to a cookout in his honor Saturday.

"People loved him, and he loved people,” Johnson said. "And its just breaking my heart, to know that even after a year, people still love him.”

Killed during a car accident in August of 2015, 17-year-old Kie Johnson was riding passenger in a friend’s car when Highway Patrol troopers say the car crashed head first into a school bus.

"My son was killed by an impaired driver, not a drunk driver,” Johnson said. "His driver had absolutely no alcohol in his system."

And while friends remembered him as a fun-loving jokester, his mother shared her heartfelt message that she hopes will preserve his legacy.

"I'm just trying to say if it is in your system, make better choices,” she said. “Relinquish the wheel.”

State Highway Patrol says leading causes of road deaths are distracted and impaired driving, along with driving under the influence of alcohol.

"If I can save one person, then he wouldn't have died in vain,” Johnson said.

On top of all this awareness and advocacy, Kie's mother wanted to set up a scholarship fund and a GoFundMe account. It will go to students at Eastern Guilford Middle School.