Memorial held for victims of Harnett crash


Twenty-three-year-old Shane Mitchell Garner, 20-year-old Austin Stewart Ferrell, and 16-year-old Casey Dell Edens all died. Autumn Ashlyn Zimmer, 17, and Marina Troyano, 17, survived the crash, but were both seriously injured.

Despite the tragedy behind the event, the "Forever in Our Hearts" benefit looked like an outdoor party with lots of baked goods and lively music.

"[It's] a good celebration for all of us, for all of our family, friends and even strangers to come together and just help us with our grieving," said Traci Ferrell, Austin Ferrell's mother.

While investigators say the truck carrying all five sped through a license checkpoint minutes before the fatal wreck, the focus of the event was support for the affected families.

"There's a raffle ticket, there's a silent auction, they do have the motocross race going on, and they are having chicken plates for sale for lunch," said Ferrell.

Those behind the celebration, who kept the mood upbeat, tried to compensate for the chill in the air, with lots of room available for what organizers hoped would be a large turnout, paying tribute to those lives lost as well as the survivors.

Additionally, the support received at the event helped Ferrell focus on good times with her son.

"He was just a fun loving, friendly person. He had a lot of friends. He was just a character who just liked to make people laugh! And that's how I want to remember him," she said.

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