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Two young lives lost

SALISBURY — Driving home from the first day of school, two West Rowan High sophomores were killed Monday afternoon in a grinding crash on Sherrills Ford Road at the Second Creek bridge.
The accident occurred about 2:37 p.m., only minutes east of the high school.
Trooper C.F. Rogers of the N.C. Highway Patrol said the male teens — one a 16-year-old driver; the other, his 15-year-old passenger — were traveling at an excessive and reckless speed coming out of a curve before the bridge.
The boys’ 1990 Mazda Miata convertible crossed the center line at the bridge. A 2008 Chevrolet Trail Blazer, 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 Trail Blazer hit the sports car full on after the Miata glanced off the bridge railing and back into its path, Rogers said at the scene.
Red paint from the Miata’s glancing blow 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 Trail Blazer’s lane, facing west. Its top was down.
The Trail Blazer overturned onto the driver’s side and ended up in the eastbound lane, opposite of where it was headed. It came to rest against the opposite bridge railing.
The boys, whose identities were being withheld in the early hours after the accident, were killed instantly, Rogers said.
Graham suffered a possible broken arm but was not seriously hurt.
A unit from the Rowan Rescue Squad transported the boys’ bodies from the scene by 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 the victims.
“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.
A minor amount of fuel was spilled, and response teams made sure Second Creek was not affected.
Monday was the first day of school for Rowan-Salisbury Schools.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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