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North Forsyth crash survivor Joel Knost speaks of grief, wish for all teen drivers

12:08 PM, Dec 12, 2012   |    comments
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  • Best Friends: From Joel's Cell Phone -- Kyle and Joel
  • Joel and friends, at Joel's home, grieving for Kyle, Tuesday, December 11, 2012
    

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. -- Tuesday night, Joel Knost, 16, was back home from the hospital, hurting from his injuries and grieving from his broken heart for his best friend.

Joel was the passenger in a car that his best friend, Kyle Robins, 17, was driving home from school on Monday afternoon.

They were on their way from North Forsyth High School to Joel's house off of Hendrix Road.

Kyle lost control on a curve and crashed into a pickup truck.

Kyle was killed. Joel, and the three passengers in the pickup -- ages 2, 7 and 18 -- were injured.

All were wearing seat belts.

Forsyth County Sheriff's Office investigators believe Kyle was speeding, and they believe rain was also a factor in the crash.

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Kyle's Parents and Classmates Remember, Honor Him

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At Joel's home Tuesday, friends stayed with him, embraced him and prayed with him, and they grieved together for Kyle.

Joel's mother, Mary Knost, her eyes filling with tears, ached for her son and for Kyle's family. "We adored that boy," she said, "all of us -- Joel and his older sister and two older brothers and his father and me -- we loved him like our own."

Joel spoke with 11Alive's Jon Shirek about how Kyle had become his best friend, and was always there for him and others. Joel fought back tears of his own: "I wish the world had more people like him, but now it has one less."

Joel spoke about surviving, about grieving for his best friend, and about his wish for every other teen driver he can reach:

It means a lot having everyone around me.

I had a piece of glass underneath my eyebrow.... And it also got real swollen up as you can tell, it's sealed shut. I have a bruised lung and fluid in my pelvis.

People ask me what happened during the accident and everything. I don't remember. I just remember turning onto Hendrix and going down [the road], and then waking up and seeing Kyle next to me, and then people were talking to me and getting me out of the car.... The whole crash scene I don't remember at all.

It did happen real quick. The woman [a neighbor] who came and helped me get out of the car and everything, she was there, like, instantly. She said I was out for a little bit. But it happened so fast, I must have hit my head on something and it knocked me out just momentarily.

We were actually coming back to my house to get money so we could go back out to Moe's, so we were on our way here. And it was right after school got out.

Last year we had math and weight training together, so, like throughout all that experience we were going through we got really close.  And then over the summer we were hanging out all the time. And then at the start of school we had math and weight training again together this year. So we were hanging out, like, all weekends and every day after school, most of the time, we were pretty much always together. About as close as you can get.

He was always making you laugh. When you were down he always had your back, he was lifting you up. And he was always, just, kind of like there for you, no matter if you were close to him or not if you needed him he was there for you. And so I want people to remember that part of him. Because everyone knew him as a funny guy, but he was also, he was just a nice guy. Always had your back, no matter what, through thick and thin. He was there for you.

It's so hard for me to comprehend.... To process what actually happened.

(It's a miracle you're here talking with me right now.)

It definitely is a miracle. I don't know how I made it and he didn't. I wish he would have, I definitely do.... I don't really know exactly what happened, but I wish I did so I could have found some way to help.... I realize that there really isn't anything I could have done, like a doctor I [wish I] could have helped him on the scene.... I still wish I could have done something, like, looking back....

I was one of those people that, I watched the news with my mom, all the time, and you hear about these crashes, and it's just, you always believe like, oh, it's someone out there, it's in a different county, it's in a different state, it's whatever, but until it actually hits you, you won't ever [realize].... You can never be too careful when you're out there. Kyle, I drove with him all the time and I had complete trust in him, because he was one of the better drivers I've been with. But still, this happened to him. So everyone out there, just don't think you're so safe on the road because you've been driving for so long. Just know that anything can happen, so be super careful about it. Because you never know which day is going to be your last.

Definitely, to Kyle's family, right now, I love all of you guys so much. I know I haven't gotten to talk to you yet, but you know I love you and I feel so bad about what happened to Kyle. But I just want everyone out there to remember him for who he was. He was my best friend. He was one of the best people I ever met. It's hard not to have him around, because I wish the world had more people like him, but now it has one less. Everyone needs to know that Kyle was a positive role in everyone's lives.... He was such a great guy.... I wish everyone had a chance to get to know him.... I'm proud to say I was such close friends with him.

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