A grieving Florida mother is speaking out about the perils of drag racing after her teenage son died in a high-speed car crash earlier this summer, FOX 13 reports.
On July 24, 16-year-old Payton Fordyce was riding in the back seat of a vehicle being driven by 17-year-old Austin Lewis in the Tampa area.
Lewis and 19-year-old Kristopher Trenker started racing each other and reached speeds topping 120 miles per hour.
At one point during the race, Lewis abruptly swerved to avoid an oncoming vehicle and he crashed his car into a cement culvert, launching the vehicle into the air and causing it to flip multiple times, according to WFLA-TV.
Fordyce was partially ejected and he died at the scene.
Investigators determined that Lewis was intoxicated at the time of the crash. Tests show he had a .08 blood-alcohol level, which meets the .08 threshold in Florida for what is considered illegally impaired.
This past week, police arrested Lewis and Trenker. Lewis is facing charges of manslaughter while driving under the influence and vehicular homicide.
Meanwhile, Trenker has been charged with vehicular homicide, operation of an unregistered vehicle and driving with a suspended or revoked license.
Fordyce’s mother, Brittany Bunnell, said she has been left devastated by her only son’s death.
“It’s a very senseless act, and these kids should understand the severity of racing and speeding and not wearing a seat belt. Even my son, he did not have a seat belt on, and I don’t understand why not,” Bunnell told FOX 13.
She added: “I would just want everyone and these kids to know that it’s not okay. When you’re driving with somebody else’s life in your hands that should be taken seriously, and this was just so senseless. He was the man of our family. We don’t have anyone else now. He was the only one. So it’s just kind of devastating that he was the only boy we had, and he was taken from us.”
A GoFundMe page is raising money for the family.
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Featured Image: Payton Fordyce and Brittany Bunnell/GoFundMe