Crash victims remembered by classmates

Boy, 17, and girl, 13, were struck by SUV on dark road

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This is Michael Perry:

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Hannah Wilcher and Alexas Newsome hug each other during a vigil for Michael Perry Sarah Riffe Thursday evening at Hephzibah High. Perry and Riffe were struck and killed by a car.  Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Hannah Wilcher and Alexas Newsome hug each other during a vigil for Michael Perry Sarah Riffe Thursday evening at Hephzibah High. Perry and Riffe were struck and killed by a car.

Mikey, as he was known, was a skateboarder, big into video games, friends with everybody, always upbeat.

"He always knew how to make you laugh," said his aunt, Sabrina Herndon.

This is Sarah Riffe:

She loved her iPod, stayed on Facebook constantly, a performer who sang and danced at talent shows.

"She was your typical energetic teenager," said her father, Steven Riffe.

Together they were friends, at one time more than friends, but always together. That's how they died Wednesday night when they were hit by a Jeep Cherokee as they walked in the 4800 block of McCombs Road in rural Hephzibah.

Steven Riffe spent Thursday afternoon making two crosses to mark the spot where the wreck occurred. With the support of family and friends, he placed the crosses beside the road as a reminder to all who passed.

"Sometimes that peace comes over you and you know that she's with God," he said. "But then again, you're going to miss your baby."

On March 15, Sarah would have celebrated her 14th birthday. The family had planned a trip to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta to celebrate with the Pine Hill Middle School eighth-grader.

Late Thursday afternoon, Mikey's friends gathered outside Hephzibah High School for a candlelight vigil. With a golden sun setting at their backs, they greeted one another with hugs and tears and talked about the 17-year-old.

Tyler Walker described his last conversation with Mikey in a school hallway. Mikey looked Tyler straight in the eye and said, "I love you. I'll see you when I get back."

Tyler is glad he took the time to return the hug.

"I look at him like a brother," he said.

The wreck took place about 8 p.m. when 20-year-old William Shore rounded a curve and hit the two teens. Richmond County sheriff's Capt. Scott Gay said the two victims and two other teens were standing between the white and yellow lines on the road, but not side by side.

The survivors gave conflicting accounts of whether they were standing in the middle of the road or crossing it, Gay said. The two-lane country road near McBean has no streetlights, and the teens weren't carrying flashlights or wearing reflective clothing.

The posted speed limit is 40 mph, but investigators were unsure Thursday what speed Shore was driving.

Shore was taken to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.

The Georgia State Patrol is investigating the wreck, and it's expected to be several weeks before a decision is made on whether charges will be brought against Shore.

Sarah's parents said they didn't blame Shore for the accident that killed their daughter.

"He's got to live with this for a long time," Steven Riffe said as he stood on the side of McCombs Road on Thursday afternoon. "I wouldn't want to be in his shoes, either. No one sets out to run someone's kids down."

Sarah leaves behind two sisters, ages 7 and 15.

"Kristina's young right now, so she does understand what death is, but it hasn't hit her yet," her father said of Sarah's 7-year-old sister. "But her older sister is distraught."

Pine Hill Middle School had not planned a memorial Thursday. Principal Glenda Collingsworth said she was waiting to speak with the family before making plans.

At the vigil Thursday night, Taylor Stewart recalled good times spent with Sarah, including an Independence Day celebration at Fort Gordon "looking up at fireworks and acting crazy."

"I know Sarah is in a better place," Taylor said, holding back tears. "I just wish she was here."

Comments (36) Add comment
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dani
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dani 03/02/11 - 11:10 pm
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How awful. This is so sad.

How awful. This is so sad.

xpresso1
68
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xpresso1 03/02/11 - 11:44 pm
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My heart goes out for

My heart goes out for everyone involved in this horrible incident. Prayers going out as well. May God bless and bring comfort to all of the families.

AutumnLeaves
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AutumnLeaves 03/03/11 - 12:05 am
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Very dark, rural road.

Very dark, rural road. Tragedy. I cannot imagine...

to tell the truth1
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to tell the truth1 03/03/11 - 05:17 am
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Sympathy to the families for

Sympathy to the families for their loss. I surely hope it is not a case like out here in Pepperidge, teenagers will walk up and down the streets, side by side, with the line extending as close to an incoming car as possible, as if they are challenging drivers to hit them, like it is a game or something. I swiver trying not to hit them maybe this time the victims weren't so lucky. Parents, tell your teenagers and toddlers (peddling bikes and cycles in the middle of the road), to get out of the streets!

rmwhitley
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rmwhitley 03/03/11 - 06:53 am
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God Bless Their Souls.
Unpublished

God Bless Their Souls.

MeinAugusta2
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MeinAugusta2 03/03/11 - 01:30 pm
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May God bless everyone

May God bless everyone involved.

iLove
626
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iLove 03/03/11 - 09:09 am
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My God. Prayers to the
Unpublished

My God. Prayers to the family and friends of the teens. Only God can provide the type of comfort that is needed in a situation like this.

sml1977
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sml1977 03/03/11 - 09:29 am
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This is just aweful! I have

This is just aweful! I have complained so many times about lighting these roads. I live off of McCombs on Tinley Rd and I always tell my son to stay away from the road at all times because people fly around the corners out here and do not slow down. I'm not saying the man was speeding, I don't know all the facts, just saying these roads are curvy and dark. People needs to slow down and take caution.

crossyourarms
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crossyourarms 03/03/11 - 11:14 am
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To echo "to tell the truth1,"

To echo "to tell the truth1," I too notice teens just walking in the roads -- either completely oblivious to what's going on around them -- some as if to dare an oncoming vehicle to hit them -- and others simply to be obnoxious and infuriate the driver. The same thing happens in parking lots. I once had to completely stop my car because about 5 kids all held each other's hands outstretched and walked down one of the lanes to block traffic... grinning all the while. All fun and games until someone gets hurt.

dani
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dani 03/03/11 - 12:12 pm
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1

1

bettyboop
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bettyboop 03/03/11 - 12:23 pm
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"The survivors gave

"The survivors gave conflicting accounts of whether they were standing in the middle of the road or crossing it, Gay said."

These two were not injured...they should have been able to tell exactly what happened.

iLove
626
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iLove 03/03/11 - 12:28 pm
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Please do not respond to
Unpublished

Please do not respond to simple ppl like this. This is NOT the place.

Dylan1302
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Dylan1302 03/03/11 - 01:27 pm
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I use to go to school with

I use to go to school with sarah she was a nice girl and i dont really talk to her like that but i knew her. RIP SARAH

wakeup56
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wakeup56 03/03/11 - 01:38 pm
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boy these children it saden

boy these children it saden me ive lost two children it just takes my heart with in the last two years and my prayers go out . its the worst thing to tell a parent i know ! what goes through your mind ,the what ifs or should done
.myheart goes out to the familys .if you need anyone to been there . the out side people help . its the worst thing for a parent to go through and im still going through.

daniel00222
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daniel00222 03/03/11 - 01:40 pm
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I knew Sarah and Michael.

I knew Sarah and Michael. They were my firends. They were both nice and its sad that this happened to them so soon. RIP Sarah & Michael

tresmom
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tresmom 03/03/11 - 01:43 pm
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Wow Crime Reports and

Wow Crime Reports and Rewards, that is really out there. I would have to say it was simply a tragic accident.

My deepest sympathy goes out to the loved ones and friends of those young people. May they find peace in the Lord.

tresmom
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tresmom 03/03/11 - 02:08 pm
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Really?! I do no think this

Really?! I do no think this is the time nor place to be judging the parents or the children that were killed in this accident! Please just let the families mourn their loved ones without those type of comments.

tresmom
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tresmom 03/03/11 - 02:09 pm
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okay TY AC for removing those

okay TY AC for removing those comments.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 03/03/11 - 03:44 pm
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Tresmon; Every word i wrote

Tresmon;
Every word i wrote can be found in Government reports, charts and police reports.
Those who do not learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them.
The Political Correctness of not solving this will lead to more needless tragedy.

RogueKnight
210
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RogueKnight 03/04/11 - 11:08 am
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This is just terrible.

This is just terrible.

613Droid
0
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613Droid 03/03/11 - 04:39 pm
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Ima miss you Michael. Wish

Ima miss you Michael. Wish You Didnt Go Though.

getitright84
305
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getitright84 03/03/11 - 05:39 pm
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As far as why they were out

As far as why they were out at 8 p.m. they just left church. Sweep around your own doorstep and let everyone grieve in peace.

RogueKnight
210
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RogueKnight 03/03/11 - 05:50 pm
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I agree with getitright84.

I agree with getitright84. Don't be quick to cast stones.

Free2rideforlife
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Free2rideforlife 03/03/11 - 06:06 pm
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Terribly sad. Please people,

Terribly sad. Please people, please slow down. No amount of time saved can be worth this, please. My heart goes out to the famillies of the children.

ron_rlw
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ron_rlw 03/03/11 - 06:12 pm
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Yes this is terribly sad

Yes this is terribly sad ...

I would like to make a general comment, though I don't know if it would apply to this case.

Several times I've come close to running over someone standing just inside the road way ... wearing dark clothing at night. Please if you are going to walk along the roads at night ... wear something that will make it easy for the drivers to see you ... it may save your life.

alycias
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alycias 03/03/11 - 06:49 pm
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To Ron_Rlw: I, too have come

To Ron_Rlw: I, too have come close many, many times to hitting someone at night. They would be walking close to the edge of the road and wearing dark colored clothes. I have had to swerve many times to avoid people on the road. Why people walk like that I cannot figure out. One of the worst places in the CSRA for this is Belair Rd...heading down towards Augusta Mall. And they even ride bikes on that road. There is absolutely no place to go to avoid the people, but to slow down and hope/pray another car doesn't come by on the other side of the road at the same time as when YOU are passing that person walking or riding. There are NO shoulders there and a deep ditch on both sides of the road so it makes it hard for pedestrians to walk off the road. That only compounds the problem!! When will the authorities and comissioners do something about it???!!!

Just My Opinion
5582
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Just My Opinion 03/03/11 - 07:48 pm
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Wow, I am very impressed with

Wow, I am very impressed with the way Mr. Riffe is handling this and his attitude about the young man who drove the car. Instead of holding hatred and contempt for the young man, he expresses his pity and understanding. With a good role model like that, I'm sure his daughter was a good kid. God bless the families of both of the children and for the young driver.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 03/03/11 - 09:05 pm
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Jason; Greatest sympathies.

Jason; Greatest sympathies. We agree and are in awe of the Riffe family's peace in this. It’s deadly dark on that road. The report we have is there was a car in front that swerved at the last moment and the guy behind that car said they appeared out of nowhere.
dougk; correct U.S. if we're wrong. I’m all ears & welcome feedback..
The facts speak for themselves, i regret not sharing them better. An ounce of Prevention is worth a pound of cure.

my2cents
19
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my2cents 03/03/11 - 09:45 pm
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Wow. What an attitude from

Wow. What an attitude from this broken hearted father. His response needs to be shared nationally. I have 2 daughters and I am not sure if I could handle it that perfectly. But that is exactly the way a Christian should handle it.

jasonriffe55@yahoo.com
0
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jasonriffe55@yahoo.com 03/03/11 - 09:57 pm
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please make sure this

please make sure this travesty never happens by protestin and fighting being one body and one voice and tell the govement to make georgia streets safer. Otherwise their deaths and all of those who have died in similar situations will be in vain. Had there been one single solitary streetlight my cousin would still be alive

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