BELLE, W.Va — The community joined together Monday night to begin the difficult process of picking up the pieces after a tragic weekend.
Family members, friends and classmates gathered on the Riverside High School football field for a time of remembrance and mourning after the loss of student Cody Perdue and graduate Mason Roush.
“Them two right there were two of the greatest people on this earth and now they’re in a better place,” said friend Chaz Davis. “But I sure do miss them.”
Roush, 18, and Perdue, 17, were killed Saturday night when their pickup trucks collided head-on near Marmet on Route 61. State police said Roush was trying to pass a slower vehicle, but failed to get over in time and crashed into Perdue’s truck. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
While hundreds held candles at the vigil, Riverside High School principal Valerie Harper recalled the boys were great kids whom everyone loved to be around.
“Even when we try to get through it together, it’s important that we not forget either,” she said. “We tried to hold on to those memories, encapsulate them and use that to strengthen us for the future.”
With the lights off on the field Monday night, family and friends spoke of the good memories.
Davis said he was stunned after another friend called him up and told him the news.
“I didn’t know what to do, I just started balling and it was hard,” he recalled. “It was a shocker and I didn’t know what to do.”
In addition to remembering Roush and Perdue, the community lifted up prayers to the night sky for Kirsten Young, Perdue’s girlfriend, who was riding with Perdue during the crash. She was recovering in the hospital Monday.
“We all have to stick together,” Davis said. “We’re family here. We have to be there for each other, we have to just do what we have to do to be with each other at all times.”