Two Corner Brook teenagers who watched their best friend die after a car accident last week are describing what happened in the hope that similar tragedies can be prevented.
Nathan Edmonds, Steve Clarke and another friend were with Alex McCarthy when their car spun out of control and rolled numerous times, ending up in a roadside ditch.
McCarthy, 15, died at the scene after being thrown from the vehicle. His friends walked away with minor injuries. None of them were wearing seatbelts.
The crash happened late last Friday afternoon, a few kilometres west of Deer Lake. The four had driven to the town for a bite to eat after school, and were on their way back to Corner Brook when, in the span of a few seconds, tragedy struck.
"We set the car on cruise control, we went to take it off and the wheel jerked," Clarke told CBC shortly after his friend's funeral on Wednesday. "We lost control. I was in the back seat, jumped up in the front, took the wheel and tried to get the car back under control. I almost had it, but I just couldn't get it.
"So we all braced ourselves and started rolling ... five, six times."
When the demolished car finally came to rest, the driver was in the front passenger seat. Edmonds, who had been in that seat, was in the back, and Clarke was somewhere in between.
McCarthy, however, was nowhere to be found.
"We all realized that Alex wasn't in the car, so we ran out and seen him on the ground," Clarke said. "We tried to get him up, talk to him, but we got no response."
Meanwhile, other drivers were stopping and calling for help, which arrived within 10 minutes.
"(The paramedics) worked on him for about 10 to 15 minutes," said Edmonds. "He came back a couple of times, but then that was it ... he was just gone."
Both Clarke and Edmonds — who served as pall bearers at their friend's funeral Wednesday — know how lucky they are.
Asked what they would do differently, if they could go back in time, both were blunt.
"Never went to Deer Lake," Clarke said. "And seatbelts for sure. You're a teenager. You don't really think (about safety)."
Alex McCarthy's family is encouraging donations to the Benoits Cove and Lark Harbour fire departments in support of a safety scholarship to remind students of the importance of buckling up.