4 West Davidson High School students have died in car crashes in the past year

DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. -- Next year at West Davidson High School there will be four empty desks for the junior class, each for a student who lost their life in a deadly crash.

A cross, flowers and sweet notes stand as a tribute to the young woman who lost her life after a car crash Monday night here on Holloway Church Road.

Hailey Wallace is the fourth West Davidson High School student who died in a car accident this year.

Gavin Ivey, Todd Goetaski and Tyler McGee died in a crash back in October.

All four of them would have been going into their junior year. Two other West Davidson High School students were injured in another car accident earlier this year. In that accident, a recent West Davidson High School student passed away as well.

Rachel Roberts was their classmate.

"I got my permit in June and we've since had four people die in car accidents that were 16 years old," Rachel said.

Their tragedies opened Rachel's eyes about safety behind the wheel.

"Yeah, fear. Because next week I start driving on my own. And it scares me and that's something you should look forward to," she said.

"Always go the speed limit. Always wear your seat belt. Always remember that your car is a lethal weapon," Rachel's grandma, Gay Smith said.

It's a checklist Rachel has promised to follow as she gets ready to hit the road as a new driver. She made this pledge on social media.

"Today I promise everyone on my friends list, family and all, that I will never take off in my car without having a seat belt on, I'll also obey the speed limit while I'm behind the wheel," she said.

They are thoughts she says have echoed through a lot of her classmates' minds. Because those four empty chairs at school next year are four too many.

"This time next week I'll have my driver's license. I promise to drive with as much caution as I can. I'm hoping my fellow classmates will do the same," Rachel said.

Highway Patrol tells us they go to to all of the Driver's Ed classes for these high schoolers. They try and talk to all of the young drivers one-on-one to really impress the importance of those basic safety measures.