3 Bessemer City High students die in crash

Full story: The Charlotte Observer

The call came around 8 p.m. Jonathan Lynn Jr. had just finished eating Chinese takeout with his parents.

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Leenie Pastor

United States

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#21
Sep 26, 2007
 
Disappointed wrote:
I am extremely disappointed in Zach Ruffner. He told the three families that he was sorry the day after it happened yet every time they run into each other he never speaks or even acknowledges that they are there.
The families forgave him and wanted a fair sentence so that Zach wouldn't have anything on his record and still could go to school. He said that he would like to talk to other kids about speeding. That was great with the families but when it came time for him to do his community service he chose to take score at a baseball game instead....that's a great way to remember the three kids that died and help the community at the same time. I don't know if there was a better way to remember them.
Here's the worst part. It is July right now less than 6 months after he wrecked and already he has been seen driving without a license in his mothers car. Also, I just heard that he got a speeding ticket at Myrtle Beach this summer. I hope the news finds out about this and draws attention to the fact that he is a spoiled selfish brat.
It's taking all that I have not to be mean right now but I don't want to call names, just point oHut the fact that he is handling this in the worst way possible. Lying to families so that he didn't go to jail only to turn around and SPEED (not just drive but SPEED) again in a car without a license.
Way to show that you care Zach Ruffner. We appreciate all that you have done! If I was one of the families of the kids that you killed, I would be handling this situation much differently and you would not be driving again...EVER!
I am Amber's aunt. My brother is Amber's father and we are devastated over the loss of Amber. I personally could not speak or even want to look at Zach at the funeral. My daughter Jackie and Amber were so close and to see my family have to endure this pain is almost unbearable. I read your comment about Zach driving. Is there any real truth to this comment, because if there is I am outraged. I was so upset to hear Zach was not going to inform other young drivers the consequences of driving wrecklessly and share his personal experience for his community sercvice. I am upset and I pray he makes some kind of immediate change in his life before he takes another life and changes another family forever.
Jacqueline Pastor

United States

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#22
Sep 26, 2007
 
Okay well I was ambers cousin. We grew up together. She was one of my best friends as well as my family. Even when she moved out to BFE NC we still talked once a week up until the day before she died. Let me say something to all you people bashing the kid who was driving. It was an ACCIDENT! Don't act like you don't speed.. we all do. He probably feels worse than ANY of us... he killed 3 of his friends. Relax and be real. And seeing your comments about him doesn't make HER FAMILY feel any better. Amber is gone. But I know for a FACT she wouldnt want anyone bashing her friend for his mistake. So chill.
A friend

New York, NY

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#24
Dec 16, 2007
 
And we have proof of your allegations from where disappointed? Your word just isn't good enough for me. I find it hard to believe that the media wouldn't have reported any of this, they just love stories like this. As for the spoiled brat part, his life has been a hell most of us never have to go through. For anyone to take this poster at his word without proof just baffles me.
Disappointed

Charlotte, NC

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#25
Jan 8, 2008
 
Debi, I am not an angry person at all. I just hate that we gave Zachary Ruffner a chance and he, in an extremely short period of time, showed everyone that his remorse was an act. The parents try to do the right thing and it is thrown back in their face. Perhaps if you had a child murdered and the murderer got away without ANY punishment at all, then turned around and basically made a mockery of your kindness then you may feel differently as well.

Unwarranted anger would have been wishing that Zach would fry from day one. I only wished that after I found out he was out driving again.

To "A Person" in Daytona Beach, I only heard about the speeding ticket through a friend of his that was in the car going to the beach with him. I tried for days to call different police departments in both north and south carolina to find out for sure but came up empty handed. I know that he did it because I trust the source however I have no proof.

I did however witness him driving his mothers car without a license. That alone shows what kind of character he has.

I had forgotten about this post until today when I passed him on the road again for the first time in a while...I just wish that I could pass Johnny, Amber, and Zach again.:(
Anonymous

Charlotte, NC

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#26
Jan 20, 2008
 
All of this bashing of my friend Zach Ruffner needs to stop right now. If I was looking you face to face, Disappointed, when you called him a selfish, spoiled brat- Quite simply I would have punched you in the face. Let me tell you about his spoiled life: His father killed himself in 2003 but he plowed through adversity and worked hard in school, while trying to help fill the void in his family as the oldest child. Then, he makes a mistake that he is constantly crucified for by ignorant people like you who must have never made a mistake in your life? Do you think that sounds like a spoiled life? Didnt think so. Zach, Johnny, and Z. Elliott were all friends and as someone who witnessed all of them together, He loved those guys with all his heart, and I'm sure he felt the same way about Amber, whom I only had the pleasure to meet once. He would have never done anything intentionally to hurt his best friends. To say that he "murdered" them as you imply in your previous post is nothing short of total ignorance. Do you know what the word murder means? It means to kill with intent you pompous jerk! Zach can not escape the demons from that night for as long as he lives, so why dont you just let him be. He is a great person, not a spoiled brat. Shame on you.
R.I.P. Zach, Johnny and Amber
JAZ

Boone, NC

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#27
Mar 3, 2008
 
I also witnessed Ruffner speeding and driving without a license. It is shameful. Just shameful. True the boy needs to grow and learn and eventually put the past behind him... but it was a little too quick for most rational thinking people when he no longer cared when he found out he wasn't getting jail time.

Relationships between the three that died and Ruffner were strained at the time, they weren't the best of friends. He often tried to show off by doing dumbass things like speed through a stop sign on Lewis Farm Road at over 90mph while none of them were wearing seatbelts.

"LOOK WHAT GERMAN ENGINEERING CAN DO!"

Its sad really: he was pathetically trying to cling on to a barely there friendship by showing off which eventually resulted in the deaths of three magnificent people.

All in all, he could have shown a bit more respect to the families and the memories of his "friends" by at least waiting to drive legally, and by not speeding. It couldn't have hurt his pride TOO much more to talk to kids about speeding. He could have actually helped save a life.

You biased people make Z.R out to be a model citizen: hardly. Wake Up, just because you personally know him doesn't make him a saint; and just because his father killed himself doesn't give him a free pass to fuck up 3 families lives.

Think about it. How would you feel if this ass killed your children?

An ACCIDENT is NOT PREVENTABLE. Accidents happen when there is nothing you could possibly have done to prevent it from happening. Zack Ruffner could have chosen not to speed down a windy country road. A WRECK completely could be prevented. A WRECK is what killed these three kids and not an accident so STOP calling it that!

And I know Amber was a pretty mellow person, but I think I would be pretty pissed if someone jackass killed me by trying to show off; if you wouldn't be then something is wrong with you or you are just lying to yourself.
A friend

New York, NY

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#28
Mar 6, 2008
 
Proof of him driving and speeding anywhere other than "sources".
Jacqueline Pastor

Boca Raton, FL

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#29
May 24, 2008
 
And again to all the people bashing zachary ruffner. F*CK YOU! Do you have any idea what asses your making of yourself? Its truly disgusting the way you people are acting. He's a person. He has feelings and he's probably extrememly skrewed up from all of this anyway... he doesn't need your 2 cents and neither do I. Amber was my cousin and I loved her so much that the day she died I dedicated my back to her memorial with an acccurate representation of her in ink. I cried, I still cry sometimes. But I knew her probably better than anyone but tiffany, her sister... though I'm sure you bashers don't know that, and I can tell you this: SHE WOULDN'T WANT HIM TO BE PERSECUTED FOR A MISTAKE! He didn't intend on killing my cousin and thats what matters. He feels worse than any of us. SO LAY OFF YOU EMOTIONLESS REDICULOUS WASTES OF LIFE! It's been over a year... get over it. Go find something new to b*tch about!
missy Lincolnton

United States

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#30
May 28, 2008
 
I can say this to all of you we never know what we had until there gone forever.i been there with my baby girl i still miss her it's been 15 yrs.
amy lynn guiton

Cherryville, NC

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#31
Jun 11, 2008
 
they were nice people but i know amber would loved to be at her graduation with them and us n her friends n florida she was kool
Thomas Sinclair

Charlotte, NC

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#32
Mar 25, 2009
 
Zachary Ruffner has never spoke to Sue Wilson the 69 year old lady he hit head on. She has suffered greatly since the wreck. The insurance company only paid for a part of her claims and by the time she paid the lawyer she did not have enought money to replace her car. it took a year to settle the claim. during that time while injured and could not work she lost her home and job!!
Anonymous

Rockingham, NC

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#33
Apr 28, 2009
 
Man...Zach was my first and best friend when we were in elementary school. I search his name on Google to see if I can find out where he is, and I find this...

I'm sorry we grew apart, Zach. I'm so torn to find out about this..
MBro

Pendleton, SC

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#35
May 21, 2009
 
I tell you one thing I learned from reading all of this. I am thankful for my children everyday and are cautious who they ride with. I applaud the families that were forgiving because I realize that's what God expects but I don't think I could be so strong. The families will be in my prayers.(one way or the other karma comes around)
Concerned

Orlando, FL

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#37
Jun 14, 2009
 
I did not know any of the teens but this crash happened about 500 ft from my house. I am so sorry to the families. And if you don't live around here then you don't know how dangerous our roads are ( curvy ). Think about this before you cast any judgement on anyone! My God be with you and your families!
Observer

Locust, NC

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#38
Jun 15, 2009
 
Those of you who spoke badly of Zach( Disappointed mainly) are simply ignorant. If the families of the deceased can forgive him and look past his flaws, who are you to run your mouth? I met this guy a few weeks ago and he is as nice as can be. What if you had been speeding along a road (as most people do at some point or another) and got distracted and wrecked and everyone in the car died but you. Put yourself in this guys shoes you arrogant moron. The guilt and pain of the situation is bothering you for the rest of your life and then having to put up with idiots like you talking about how you need to suffer further and condemning you for your mistakes. You act like it was his being a bad-A that killed these people, but it was simply a tragic accident that could happen to any of us at anytime. Shut your unforgiving mouth and realize he has suffered enough and doesnt need your stupid opinion.
Blair1

Locust, NC

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#39
Jul 8, 2009
 
I really can't believe the nerve of you people bashing Zack Ruffner like that. No, I do not personally know him. I've met him twice and he seems like a pretty nice guy. No, he shouldn't have been speeding, but you name one person who doesn't EVER speed...including cops...and I'll call you a liar. It's not like he was trying to kill his friends. Anyone wo calls Zack a murderer should be sent back to middle school. I mean seriously people, think about it. Curvy roads + teenagers trying to have fun + darkness + speeding = obviously nothing good. However, if you put yourself in Zack's shoes, I think you'd realize that he's aready paid enough for what he's done. The guilt of killing 3 of your best friends would be enough to drive a person past the point of insanity, if you have a heart anyway...which I know Zack does. You people calling him a murderer and a selfish brat need to wake up and think about how you'd feel if it happened to you. It could happen to ANYONE. Relax and give Zack a break...he already has it hard enough.
Ashley Brewer 2007

North Charleston, SC

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#40
Nov 2, 2010
 
My name is Ashley and i just found this site and i was reading through the messages that ppl are writing and it upsets me that ppl can be so mean and hateful. I just want to say when this happened to our classmates, we were not only upset and sad about losing 3 of our best students, but we were also having to help our classmate out that went through this. Yes he made a mistake, what teenager doesn't? But i can say for those on here that dont personally know him, you dont know what he has mentally went through. So i would hope you would stop with the messages that are bashing him. He lost 3 great friends that day, isnt that enough?
And for the families of the 3 students that we lost that day, i would like to say your children were greatly loved by everyone in that school and outside of school. I personally knew Jonathan, and Zach..them boys were so fun to be around and always full of life. And to the family of Amber, I personally never met her, but from what i later learned about her she was a laid back,caring person.
I know its been 3 years since the accident but i wanted to post this so the families can see that there children are loved and still thought about each and every day.
Here is something that i wrote on a poster for the students (the colors were roses), i put it on the site the day after:
blue-for jonathans blue eyes
red-zach always being full of life/himself
white-for amber being a new comer to BCHS
your families will always be in my prayers
love, Ashley Brewer

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