Authorities identify West Rowan students killed in Sherrills Ford collision

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 28, 2012

By Mark Wineka

SALISBURY — Driving home from the first day of school, two West Rowan High sophomores were killed in a collision on Sherrills Ford Road at the Second Creek bridge this afternoon.
The collision occurred about 2:37 p.m., only minutes east of the high school.

Cody Rives, 16, of 235 Four Lakes Drive, Cleveland, and Terry Johnson, 15, of the same address, were killed, said Trooper C.F. Rogers of the N.C. State Highway Patrol.
Rogers said Rives, driving a 1990 Mazda Miata with Johnson in the passenger’s seat, was speeding as it came out of a curve before the bridge.
The convertible crossed the center line at the bridge. A 2008 Chevrolet Trailblazer, driven by Kara Graham, 42, of Salisbury, was traveling west, toward them.
Rogers said Graham swerved in an attempt to miss the Miata in her lane.
“She tried,” Rogers stressed. But the Trailblazer hit the sports car after the Miata glanced off the bridge railing and back into its path, Rogers said at the scene.
Red paint from the Miata left a long streak on the bridge railing — the railing on the westbound side.
After the collision, the Mazda came to rest in what had been the Trailblazer’s lane, facing west. Its top was down.
The Trail Blazer overturned onto the driver’s side and ended up in the eastbound lane. It came to rest against the opposite bridge railing.
The boys were killed instantly, Rogers said.

Graham suffered a possible broken arm but was not seriously hurt.

A unit from the Rowan Rescue Squad took the boys’ bodies from the scene about 4:20 p.m.
Traffic on Sherrills Ford Road was detoured at Long Branch Road on one side of the accident and at White Road on the other.
Ben Kluttz, a sophomore classmate, said he was acquainted with both boys and was on the wrestling team with one of them.
“It’s going to be sad,” Kluttz said of how West Rowan High’s student body will react to the news of the boys’ deaths. “They’ll be remembered.”

The wrecked Miata still held some of the victims’ belongings, such as backpacks and sneakers.
Second Creek is the dividing line between Locke and West Rowan fire districts, so both departments responded.

Monday was the first day of school for Rowan-Salisbury Schools.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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