Says wearing a seat belt may have saved his life
© Submitted photo
Alex McCarthy died in a single vehicle accident near St. Judeâs Friday evening.
CORNER BROOK Steve Clarke says he did all he could to help the out-of-control car stay on the road and to reach his dying best friend on the roadside after it crashed, but his best efforts were futile.
The 18-year-old said he rushed to his friend Alex McCarthyâs side after the car the four teenagers were travelling in flipped five or six times just outside of St. Judeâs on the Trans-Canada Highway early Friday evening.
Clarke had been sharing the back seat with McCarthy as the three boys and the female driver were returning to Corner Brook after a trip to Deer Lake. As well as sharing each otherâs company, they were also sharing a placid attitude toward wearing seat belts.
âWhen youâre a teenager you donât really think about it,â Clarke said. ââIâm too cool for that,â or whatever, and have a âwho cares, nothing is going to happenâ kind of attitude.
âNow, it changed me.â
In hindsight, Clarke realizes the only effort it would have taken to save the life of his 15-year-old friend would have been to strap on the belt.
âHe would still probably be here,â he said.
That is why Clarke found the strength to talk about the accident, he said. It is important for everybody to realize that wearing seat belts saves lives, and sometimes it can be too late to learn that lesson.
The distraught teenager says he remembers realizing the car was out of control. He said he jumped up in an attempt to control the wheel, but to no avail.
âAll Iâcan remembering is just rolling and rolling and rolling,â Clarke said.
After being beat around the vehicle during the crash, he said the driver ended up in the passenger seat and the front passenger in the back.
McCarthy was no longer inside the car.
Despite the internal bruising and soft-tissue injuries Clarke suffered, he said he rushed outside looking for his best friend. Seeing McCarthy lying on the ground, he ran to his side, held him in his arms, yelled out his name.
Other than a minor movement in McCarthyâs shoulders, Clarke said he found no sign of life. He held him until the paramedics arrived.
Clarke also dug deep for the strength to talk about his best friend because he wants people to know what kind of young man he was. Although a few years apart in age, they shared common interests.
Clarke relished the friendship because McCarthy was always happy. When others werenât, he was the one sure to cheer them up, according to his friend.
âHe always knew exactly what to say to make you laugh,â Clarke said of the Grade 10 student at Corner Brook Regional High. âWe all would be sitting around, and he would randomly jump up and start dancing or do some funny dance moves. He was just one of those people who would do anything for you.â
McCarthyâs death leaves a void in Clarkeâs life now, and he is not sure how he will overcome it. Right now, what happened still doesnât seem real for the young man.
âIt feels like a dream,â he said. âI think about it everyday â what Iâm going to do and how Iâm going to get over it.â
He attended the wake in McCarthyâs hometown of Benoitâs Cove Monday night, and he said the place was packed with people paying their respects and saying their goodbyes. He expects the funeral today to be the same.
âHe was loved and known by everybody,â he said.