Mom speaks out about her 15-year-old son's fatal crash


by Johnny Archer

Posted on June 24, 2012 at 7:27 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 25 at 10:13 AM

(WHAS11) -- It was a tragic ending for 15-year-old Michael Tanner Wheat, who was soon to be a sophomore at Henry County High School  and his 14-year-old sweetheart, Autumn Foree, who was going into her freshman year at Oldham County High.

“[They were] two very good kids that just wanted to be together,” said Connie Smith, the mother of Wheat. “We've tagged them as the modern day Romeo and Juliet. But I guess that ended being the final of their fairy tale.”

The teens died in a car crash early Saturday morning on Highway 146 in Oldham County.

“This is probably the biggest fear that I’ve had to face,” said Smith. “I have three boys.”

Smith lost her middle son, because police say Wheat led officers on a high speed chase after they tried to pull him over for not having his headlights on at night.  Foree was in the passenger seat.

“It’s undetermined why they were out at 3:00a.m.,” said Officer Sarah King, with the Oldham County Police Department. 

“I think he panicked,” said Smith. “He had been in a lot of trouble for sneaking out already and I don’t think he wanted to answer to me or anybody else or get her [Foree] in trouble as well.”

Police say the chase lasted about three miles. They say Wheat was driving so fast, he lost control, hit a parked car and slammed into a telephone poll snapping it into pieces. Neither teen had a drivers license.

“All of a sudden I heard the loudest bang that I ever heard in my entire life,” said Joshua Henry, who lives near the crash.

Police say Wheat was wearing his seat belt, but died at the scene. Foree was thrown from the car and later died at University Hospital.

According to Wheat’s mom, her son was staying over a friend’s house for the night and used their car to pick up Foree.

“To know your child is supposed to be at one place and the police at your door are saying you no longer have them, that was the biggest fear that I had to confront yesterday,” said Smith.

Police say they did not find evidence in the car that drugs or alcohol was a factor. But, it will take several weeks to get an official toxicology report.

Police also will be able to determine exactly how fast Wheat was driving after a reconstruction report is complete by Tuesday.

PHOTOS: Friends, family gather at crash site to release balloons for victims