Friends Rally After Tragedy 

Today, Adams’ memory lingers in the minds of the countless people whose lives he touched in untold ways. But they say the way he died is with them, too.

Speeding kills. In Virginia, 913 people were killed in 832 fatal crashes statewide in 2002, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. In 284 of those crashes — or 24 percent — the driver had been speeding. And teenagers speed more than any other drivers. In 2002, nationwide, more than a third of car accidents that killed teenage drivers were speed-related.

Adams’ family and friends want people to remember this — remember Nick Adams — and drive safely. They’ve formed the Wish You Were Here and launched wishuwerehere.org.

In memory of Adams and to raise awareness of speed-related accidents, his friends from Collegiate and James River High School are hosting the first Wish You Were Here Music Festival Saturday, May 8, from 1-6 p.m. at Tredegar Iron Works. The indoor concert, which they plan to make annual, will feature Florez, Muleskinner, Half and Half, Highwater, JUMA and Fools & Horses.

Funds raised will go toward launching a national billboard campaign. To help, Adolf’s Jewelers has offered the foundation its billboard space free.

And the Web site provides a forum for teens to express what it means to lose a friend in a tragic accident.

“Our message is kind of simple,” Collegiate senior Harry Ludeman says. “Slow down. Think before you get behind the wheel. Speed kills.” And Ludeman says the foundation’s message will work because it’s coming from other teens. “We’re not trying to sound preachy,” he says. “This is friend to friend, peer to peer.”

Adams’ mom, Diana Adams, says the campaign speaks for itself. “You don’t have to give the advice,” she says. “You put the example of Nick out there. This is a gentle reminder that if Nick were here, he’d take back that night and slow down.”

Tickets for the festival are $5 in advance and are available at Plan 9. For more information call 513-3857. — Brandon Walters

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