Teens Killed In Crash Had Deep Religious Convictions

By Shannon Davidson

(MOUNT EDEN, Ky., July 26th, 2004, 6 p.m.) -- Three Kentucky teenagers are dead after an accident Sunday afternoon. The teens had just left church when their young lives were cut short. As WAVE 3's Shannon Davidson reports, their commitment to God is bringing some solace to their loved ones as they grieve.

"He had been to church camp, and was saved the week before," said Matt Edwards' stepfather, David Downing. He was so proud of that."

Fifteen-year old Edwards and 15-year old Jason Newton were two friends who loved horses, hunting and fishing, and bull riding.

Family members say the Shelby County teens couldn't wait to go bull riding Sunday. "Saturday night, he wanted to go to (bull riding) Sunday, and he'd say 'Please, please, please.' That would work," said Jason's mother, Sue Newton.

The boys had just left church Sunday afternoon with another friend, 18-year-old Donald Maddox Jr. of Frankfort.

They were driving on Kentucky 636 on their way to a bull riding arena in Bardstown, but before they even left Shelby County, the truck Maddox was driving left the narrow, winding, roadway and hit three trees.

Police are still investigating the cause of the crash, but say speed and road conditions were likely factors.

All three teens died at the scene. Three young lives cut short in an instant.

"I don't know what I'll do without him," said Newton.

The families of all three teens say they were good kids.

"Knowing that he felt comfortable enough to talk about Jesus, and to talk about church to his parents, that really helps," said Matt's sister-in-law, Andrea Edwards.

Family members say they were three young men who, just before they died, were able to say their peace with their god. "All three of them went up front and prayed, said Newton. "There had to be something to that, there had to be."

Police say none of the teens was wearing their seat belts, and two were thrown from the truck.

Funeral arrangements for all three teenagers are being handled by Shannon's Funeral Home in Shelbyville.

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Online Reporter: Shannon Davidson

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