Family reflects on loss of teen son after tragic accident

By: Laura Geller - bio | email

MONTPELIER, VA (WWBT) - There was an empty seat at Patrick Henry High's graduation Saturday night at the Siegel Center.

In the spot where Coty Gowen was supposed to sit, lays the cap, gown and "hi mom" sign he had planned to wear.

Gowen was killed just one day before reaching the milestone.

Victoria Hegamyer had an eerie feeling in the pit of her stomach as she drove past a crash site on Elmont Road in Hanover while police were still investigating the accident that claimed the life of her 18-year-old son.

When she finally returned to her Montpelier home, mother's intuition became every parent's worst nightmare.

"The two officers came to the front door," she said. "Mama's know."

The Hanover Sheriff's Office says Coty Gowen's car ran off the right shoulder of Elmont Road Friday afternoon.

When he overcorrected and ran off the left shoulder, the vehicle flipped.

Gowen and a 17-year-old friend were thrown from the car.

EMS workers transported that friend to the hospital, but they weren't able to save Coty.

"Our lives will never be the same without Coty," Victoria said. "He shared a special bond with each one of us."

His mom and two older siblings say the boy with the beautiful smile couldn't wait to graduate.

He had dreams of going to work at a marine supply store with his brother and training to be a UFC fighter.

"He was so ecstatic," said Coty's sister Lorin. "He was going to move in with his brother. He had big plans. He was ready."

In a cruel twist of fate, the old adage Hegamyer repeated to her children has become their tragic reality.

"I've always told them you're never promised another day," said Victoria "Always tell your loved ones you love them. The day that he left, he said: "I love you, mom." That was our last words to one another.

Gowen's family spent the day making preparations for the 18-year-old's funeral.

A service is scheduled to be held at Bennett Funeral Home in Mechanicsville Wednesday at 1:00p.m.

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