A popular North Central High School wrestler died Monday night from injuries he suffered Sunday while trail riding in a four-wheel-drive vehicle with friends.
NC students knew Eddie Jones, 16, as a straight arrow who wasn’t embarrassed to kiss his mother at a wrestling match. He was the sober friend who would drive a buddy home who had had too much to drink.
“It was cool to be square. He really made it cool,” said his father, Ed Jones.
His mother, Cheri Lynn, grieved hard Tuesday for the firstborn of her three sons.
“I wish it were somebody else’s kid. God forgive me,” she said. “Now I’m going to have to live without him.”
A memorial service will be held this weekend, but the family has not set the day and time. Ball and Dodd Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
The NC sophomore would have been headed to his first state wrestling tournament this year except for a pair of 1-point losses at the close of the regional tournament Saturday.
NC wrestling coach Randy Cloke remembered Jones on Tuesday as a hard-working competitor, “one of those special kids that finds a way into your heart.
“He’s one of those kids that I would have trusted with my house keys, my car keys and my credit card.”
After word of the accident spread, Cloke said he saw many of Jones’ teammates and friends at the hospital.
Jones’ classmates nominated him to be an NC Helper, a program in which students learn to help their peers with problems.
“Everybody looked up to him,” said his father. “He didn’t know what a leader he was.”
The teenager was a passenger in a Toyota Land Cruiser that rolled Sunday afternoon in the Mount Baldy area southeast of Francis and Havana. The area is marked “No trespassing,” but off-road vehicles are seen there frequently, said Spokane County sheriff’s deputy Randy Strzelecki.
“They got on one of the old trails up there and tried to climb a steep ravine,” said Strzelecki. “They couldn’t make it and when they tried to back up, their right front tire caught in a rut and pulled them sideways.”
The rig rolled, throwing all three boys out before it rolled over Jones. The driver, Mathew Panidis, 17, and a passenger, Cliff Curtiss, 16, were unhurt, Strzelecki said.
None of the boys was wearing a seat belt. There was no sign that alcohol was involved in the accident, which remains under investigation, Strzelecki said.
Jones died at Deaconess Medical Center. His family agreed to donate his heart.
His parents said he was an unusual teenager who kept a “B” average, called home when he was out late, remembered their birthdays and talked about his Christian faith with friends.
NC students are collecting money to help buy a headstone, Ed Jones said.
“I want to get him a big tombstone, as big as I can afford,” he said.