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FIRST ON 3: 17-year-old dead after falling from truck on Cape Fear Memorial Bridge


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A teenager is dead after falling out of a truck bed on the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge Friday night.

Wilmington Police say the 17-year-old victim had been riding in the back of a pickup truck driven by his foster father, Jerry James Highsmith, 62, from Willard. Investigators say the victim had been attempting to secure a box spring and mattress in the bed of the pickup truck by laying on them.

When the truck reached the top of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge just before 8:15 p.m. Friday, Highsmith said a gust of wind lifted both the mattress and box springs, with the victim, out of the bed of the pickup truck and onto the bridge span. The boy suffered fatal head trauma, but was not hit by any other vehicles.

Witnesses told investigators the truck was going well below the speed limit

Wilmington Police Department traffic investigators, after consulting with the New Hanover County District Attorney's office, will not pursue any criminal charges, once the crash report is complete.

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Bridge work had already been scheduled for days in advance to begin at 9 p.m. Friday night.

Are you kidding me

A kid just died and you care about the bridge. -.-'

Don't understand

I know there is a law regarding riding in the back of trucks, but why don't the local police enforce it. There has been many times I was at a stop light with a truck in front of me with someone or a few people in the back, right along side of me there is either a sheriff duty or WPD and nothing happens.. can someone tell me why ???
Please, don't tell me I should have called it in, they should have been doing their job. Do they need more training???

Now with a death involved they will be cracking down again but for how long ???

You sure don't understand

No they don't need more training, you just need to be more informed. Do your job and mind your own damn buisness.

Yes, this is a very

Yes, this is a very unfortunate situation ...although, the law states that a rider must be 16 years of age or older to ride in the back of a truck. Why is it that people take EVERY oppurtunity they get to slam Law Enforcement? Police Officers and Deputies seem to get ridiculed for everything! When they enforce a law, people complain...when they don't people complain! It's even worse when someone is not clear on the law and attacks law enforcement for a very sad and unfortunate event.

The law states that you have

The law states that you have to be 16 years or older to ride in the back of a pick up truck. Law Enforcement does enforce it.


only applies to children in NC


I'll be sure to tune in at 11, don't really see how that could happen but there's a first time for everything.

It can happen

Mattresses are not sturdy and coupled with wind it is very easy for them to fall out of a bed and take you with it. How do I know? Because it almost happened to me. The driver was going over Wrightsville Beach bridge and I was in the bed with the stupid mattress. I couldn't hold it and started beating on the back window to slow down and luckily the driver did. I was stupid for doing that. People tie the mattress down or rent a covered truck. Noones life is worth a stupid mattress! So sorry this young person lost their life.

the accident

This 17 year old unidentified male was my son. He has a name it is Franklin Crosby. He lives in N.C but was born in S.C which is where I should have kept him. I want to know what kind of people put my baby in the back of a truck to get killed? Why was he back there? He was in a boys home for behavior problems does this mean he is not suppose to be taken care of? Trust and believe N.C and the dept of children services are going to have to deal with this I will personally see to it. This is my mission now we have to have safety belts or get a fine but hey just go ahead and throw a baby in the back of a truck and let him get killed? Then my baby is dead on the side of the road and if you read the statements it says when they noticed he had flew out of the back. How long did my baby lay there dying????????? Someone answer that. How long did it take the losers that out him in the back of that truck to notice????? I want to know and I am coming to find out and I am bringing a lawyer with me trust that he was in the state's care and it will be the state that answers for it.

Screwed up priorities.

Last week, we buried my cousin who was killed in a car accident. I can guarantee you that his mother's only thoughts have been of the heartbreak she is having to endure. And the last thing on her mind was how to capitalize on her son's death. It is a tragedy. His being in the back of that truck was not against the law. The driver was reported to have been travelling under the speed limit. The state is not at fault. And has you lay awake at night with visions of dollar signs dancing in your head, maybe you should give some thought as to why you didn't step up to the plate and be the mother that your son deserved instead of him being in the care of the state.


Your son needs a funeral BEFORE you head up here with a LAWYER !! My god I see you are only worried about making that cash off his death, you are disgusting ! NO wonder he was in a home away from you.


I am sorry for your loss. However, your baby was 17 yrs old. the person who asked him to ride in the back of the truck was within the laws of the state. Now, that being said, I do not know what type of crime the police could charge the man with other than failing to secure a load. The state would not be responsible. As for you brining a lawyer that would not be my first reaction to this. I would not be looking for a court battle and compensation. You are right on one count, you should have kept your son with you. Again, I am sorry for your loss

Why was NC taxpayers rasing

Why was NC taxpayers rasing your child anyway? Why weren't you taking the burden of rasing your child? I have to work and raise my children. I don't like working to pay taxes to raise yours. I am sorry about your loss and know its painful. But before looking to lawsuits, consider this: if I would have had my child in my care where he belonged, it wouldn't have happened.

How many times..

Samantha, how many times are you going to tell the same story over and over? We get it, we can read. Let me sum it up for everyone....You were a sorry parent, lost your kid, he died due to an accident, and now you are looking to cash in. Does that about do it?
That lawyer you are bringing with you, can you PLEASE let him ride in the back of the truck?

i agree with that i actually

i agree with that i actually went to pender high with frank he was like my best friend i went into tears when i found out and his foster brother was very rude and i did not like the way the put him down honestly that is not right he was my best friend now hes gone and i agree with he was in a home he should have been taken care of just like any other human being running the streets not treated like garbage but i wish he was still here but he knows he is loved and very missed by us WE LOVE U FRANK <3


Ms. Crosby I am so sorry for the loss of your young son. I am praying for comfort for you at this sad time. I will also pray that you get the answers that you so deserve. I just shake my head at such a senseless tragedy and my heart is truly heavy.

You couldn't control your son and that is somehow our fault?

You should be taking some responsibility for the situation you put him in to begin with. Why are you producing children you cannot control and why should I be paying for them? Why wasn't he in SC and living on their welfare?

A lawyer and a fast buck

A lawyer and a fast buck will not bring him back. Sorry for your loss.

Do What You Gotta Do!

I can only imagine how you might feel right now. Frankie attended Pender High School with my son. My son is very upset about how he died.

Get a lawyer and bring these wreckless people to judgement and open shame.

My heart felt prayers and condolences go out to you and your family.

Maggie, Let go of that tree

Maggie, Let go of that tree you're hugging before you choke the life out of it.
The boy was 17 years old and "obviously" man enough to make decisions for himself or his behavior wouldn't have landed him in a group home.
You huggers are always looking to blame someone else and live off of someone else's money.

Is no one else appalled by

Is no one else appalled by this? Someone wrote in the first post riding the back of a truck is safe as long as you're in the country sitting down low my question is this what if you're riding up high in town? As a test I put a mattress and box springs in the back of my truck they were perfectly level with the sides. This child was under the direct care of another individual and was deemed incompetent to make his own decisions. Even if you wanted to ride in the back of the truck I can't help but wonder where this guys tie down straps were that he intended to use at the beginning of the day and at 34Years old I have never hauled a load without my straps this guy's twice my age. This child was never in a safe situation he was put in harm's way .fact. If I find out where the foster parents live they will get 5 pounds of roofing nails in there driveway every single day. And for you idiots that say the 17-year-old was able to make his own decisions and was an adult let me ask you this why don't you go ahead and sleep with a 17 year old and post it on Facebook and see what happens then. lol. idiots. Open shut case of manslaughter. When I was his age I was full of piss and vinegar my ball truck on the ground but you know what I was a dumbass all kids are dumbasses. This makes me sick and you should all be ashamed of yourself I hope you enjoy hell.