'Wear your seatbelt,' dead teen's father urges
Alex McCarthy, 15, thrown from car after crash near Deer Lake on Friday
The family of a Corner Brook teenager is trying to make sense of his tragic death Friday night.
Alex McCarthy, 15, was in a car with three friends when they crashed near the exit to St. Jude's, about five kilometres west of Deer Lake.
The teenagers, all students of Corner Brook Regional High School, had made the trip to Deer Lake for supper at a new fast-food restaurant.
The accident occurred as they were heading home.
RCMP say the victim was not wearing his seatbelt, and was thrown from the vehicle as it spun out of control and rolled. He died at the scene.
Police say alcohol wasn't a factor, and the highway was wet but not slippery at the time.
On Monday, as family and friends mourned Alex's death, they also had a message for others.
"He was a good kid and all," said Alex's father, Philip Sheppard. "I preached and preached. You preach what you can about safety, and sometimes you just have a bad moment, just forgot or what.
"But I want to preach to everybody out there: wear your seatbelt."
Alex's grandmother, Anne Marie O'Keefe, said her grandson had a smile that could change the mood in a room.
"It didn't matter if you were upset or angry," she said. "He always had that ability to just make your heart lighter."
Sheppard said he wants to do what he can to prevent other families from going through similar grief.
"The only thing that keeps me going at this moment is the fact that he was so well loved by everybody," he said.
Alex McCarthy's family is encouraging donations to the Benoits Cove and Lark Harbour fire departments to develop a safety education program.
Meanwhile, police investigators are trying to pinpoint a definitive cause of the accident.