CLIMAX, N.C. (WGHP) — A 16-year-old unlicensed driver is now speaking out after his friend died in a crash while he was behind the wheel.
Jesus “Jesse” Victoria was driving a 2005 Dodge pickup truck that hit a tree on Bernie Road in Guilford County Wednesday afternoon.
Troopers say he was speeding.
Victoria came to the crash site on Friday afternoon and spoke with WGHP about the friend he lost, why he thinks it happened and the moments he remembers from behind the wheel.
On a rural, gravel road, he lost control.
“Five minutes from home. This is what happened,” Victoria said.
In addition to losing a friend, he watched another, 15-year-old Cheveyo Locklear, suffer from critical injuries.
“I miss him dearly right now. That’s my buddy. I watched my buddy,” Victoria says.
He’s talking about Jimmy Miller.
Sitting below the damaged tree, where the truck crashed, is a growing tribute showing how much the 16-year-old is loved and will be missed.
Victoria said he’s the one who should have paid the price for the crash.
“It shouldn’t have happened to him,” Victoria says. “I should be in jail right now.”
He’s charged with reckless driving, misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and driving without a license.
“The fact I did not have a license does not have anything to do with this wreck,” he said. “A license only tells you that you can drive legally. It does not confirm whether you can drive good or you can drive safely.”
Troopers tell WGHP the two passengers were not wearing seatbelts.
Victoria, the driver, was.
“Put your damn seatbelt on. And don’t think, ‘Oh we’re five minutes from home, we’ll be right home,’ ” he said.
Now, Miller will never be back at home.
“I hope Jimmy’s mom forgives me,” he said.
WGHP spoke with Locklear’s mom on Friday afternoon.
She said her son is awake and off the ventilator and talking, after his first surgery.
Victoria said that someone cut his brake lines.
WGHP asked state troopers about it, and was told that they will look at mechanical issues as part of the ongoing investigation.
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