Mom seeks to help kids get home safely

Janet Huffstetler was motivated to do something after an accident killed three.
November 16, 2013 5:30:52 AM PST
After a crash killed three young people in Harnett County last weekend, a parent is trying to make sure other teenagers have a safe ride home without the judgment.

Janet Huffstetler was really motivated to do something after that fatal accident. She feels kids think they're invinciible and she's offering to pick up kids at whenever with no questions asked.

"The school is going to preach not to drink, and that's all well and good, but that's not going to stop it," said Huffstetler.

Huffstetler is spearheading an effort she knows could involve long nights, lots of phone calls, and probably a pack of rowdy passengers. She set up a Facebook page called "Just a Ride Home with Love."

Click here to visit the page.

She doesn't want underage kids to drink and drive, and end up in a fatal accident like the one that killed 23-year-old Shane Mitchell Garner, 20-year-old Austin Stewart Ferrell, and 16-year-old Casey Dell Edens. Autumn Ashlyn Zimmer, 17, and Marina Troyano, 17, were last listed in critical condition at WakeMed.

"These kids need to know that they can call somebody at 2 o'clock, 3 o'clock, 4 o'clock, 5 o'clock in the morning and say 'Hey come get me,'" said Huffstetler.

Early Sunday morning, troopers say a 23-year-old driver ran through a checkpoint and crashed minutes later. They say he had underage kids with him in the car and that a fake ID was used to buy the alcohol they were drinking. The car struck a tree and caught fire.

Three people were killed. Two others were injured and were last listed in critical condition.

All of the passengers were Harnett Central High School graduates or current students.

"It's been sad for everyone. The kids are taking it really hard," said Huffstetler. "Samantha said the school was pretty much silent when they came back Tuesday."

Huffstetler's daughter is a senior at the school and knows some of the victims.

"It's just a tragedy and I think kids think that this can never happen to them and I think this shows that you just have to be careful," said Huffstetler.

Now, after organizing something to keep kids safe, all Huffstetler can do is hope the calls start coming.

"If the phone doesn't ring, it'll make me very sad," said Huffstetler. "It would make me absolutely ecstatic the first time somebody says they got a call."

So far, hundreds of people are volunteering to help in this effort.

Over the weekend, Huffstetler is going to make a schedule so that there's someone always available to give a ride.

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