SANFORD — Fathers often sense when something isn't right.
Jeff Britt had that uneasy feeling Friday night when he woke up about 11:30 and realized his son Josh wasn't home yet as he'd promised.
Britt hopped in his car and traced the route he knew his son would have taken home from his girlfriend's house in Pinehurst. He rushed along rural highways leading into Sanford, dark and still at that time of night.
As he hurried along U.S. 1 South near the intersection of N.C. 42, blue police lights flashed ahead.
Joshua Dean Britt, a star on Lee County High School's football team, died instantly, authorities said, when his car rammed into another car, facing him in the U.S. 1 northbound lane. That car, which one witness said was stopped in the roadway, had no lights on, and police told Jeff Britt they doubted his son ever saw it.
"I just hope he didn't have time to be scared," Jeff Britt said through sobs.
The driver of the darkened car, Anthony Boswell, 48, of Sanford, also died, said Capt. M.J. Thomas of the Sanford Police Department. His body was sent to the state medical examiner's office to determine the cause of death.
"We still don't know if the vehicle was stationary or not," Thomas said Sunday night. "We're continuing to investigate."
It was another deadly weekend for Triangle teens braving roadways. A 17-year-old Johnston County girl died early Saturday morning near a shopping center in Garner. Ariel Hughes, a student at West Johnston High School, was riding with a friend when the car hit a tree.
Shantoya Howard, the 17-year-old driver, swerved to avoid a deer, troopers said, before slamming into the tree. On Sunday, Howard was charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle.
Howard was listed Sunday in good condition at Wake Med.
The deaths of Britt and Hughes brought the teen death toll in crashes in the Triangle and neighboring counties to nine in the past six weeks.
Josh Britt spent Friday evening in Pinehurst at his girlfriend's home. She helped him with a chemistry project, Jeff Britt said.
"It is senseless," Jeff Britt said. "He had so much promise, so much to give."
Staff writer Anne Blythe and news researcher Brooke Cain contributed to this report.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-829-8927