Candlelight vigil for victims of ATV crash - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Candlelight vigil for victims of ATV crash

September 20, 2005

Coffee County-- With the strum of guitar strings and the light from burning candles, family and friends remember the lives of five special children.

"They're around everyday, everyday," says David Varnedore, Jr. On September 20, 2003, David Varnedore Jr. lost his son and daughter, Dustin and Kayla. "It's still there. Just have to deal with it the best you can," says Varnedore.

Dustin and Kayla are constantly remembered with crosses along with their friends Meagan Nelson, Courtney Arsenault and Lindsay Joyner, all killed by a suspected drunk driver while riding an ATV. "We all know there's no excuse for drinking and driving. If you're going to drive, leave the drinking alone," says grandfather David Varnedore, Sr.

Family members hope a candlelight vigil will bring light to the victim's lives and be an example for others. "If they see this, maybe they won't drink and drive because this is the reason for all this," says Varnedore, Sr. The sole survivor of the crash doesn't need a reminder.

"I think about them everyday," says Heather Bass. Heather says the love for her friends burns within her constantly. "More than words could ever explain," says Bass. Although she can't explain it, she is sure of one thing.

"Fifteen years down the line, if I'm still here then I know I'm going to come back to this spot and their gravesites and do a ceremony for them," says Bass.

Families still wonder when justice will be served for the victims. "Just hard to put into words really," says Varnedore, Jr. They hope and pray that the bright light from a candle is enough to show remembrance.

Amanda Michelle Troupe of Ambrose is charged with 5 counts of vehicular homicide and driving under the influence. She has not yet gone to trial.

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