Street-Racing Deaths Hit Families, Communities

By Theresa Vargas
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 5, 2006

About a year and a half ago, Jennifer Young-Foote stood where Cindy Borland is now: a mother who had just buried her son, angry, numb and questioning how a speed-induced moment, a split-second lapse of judgment, could cause such permanent ruin.

In two counties in Northern Virginia, both women lost their sons in street-racing crashes. One was a teenager, the other just beginning life as an adult.

"There is just no way to make anyone understand how it feels," Young-Foote said.

"What it does to a family?" she said, pausing. "The paralyzing pain."

Young-Foote's only son, Adam, was 17 and riding in the car of another teenager. The driver, John M. Wilcox, 17, was recently sentenced to 11 months in prison for involuntary manslaughter.

Borland's son, Ian Charles Wade, 23, was driving home to Manassas from Ohio with his younger brother in a 2006 Chevrolet Impala. They had almost made it when a 2004 Volkswagen Jetta that was headed in the opposite direction crossed a grassy median, hit a pole and slammed into the Impala, police said. The driver, a 23-year-old woman, had lost control of the car while racing a 19-year-old she had never met before, police said. Both are due in court next month.

"Most of the time I wake up in the morning angry and upset," Borland said. The hurt, she said, affects others besides herself and her 19-year-old son, who survived the crash. "It's everybody. My parents. My sister, my brother. Their cousins are just devastated. The whole family."

She buried her son Friday.

"I'm never going to hear his voice again," she said.

Law enforcement officials say street-racing crashes have increased since the release of such movies as 2001's "The Fast and the Furious."

"In 2001 is when it really exploded in our Northern Virginia area," said Fairfax County police Lt. Shawn Bennett. "That's when we saw the calls coming in."

Foote died in March 2005. In July, Fairfax police arrested 59 adults and two juveniles, mostly men and some from Prince William County, who showed up to race at the site of a trash incinerator in Lorton.

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