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Loved ones cling to memories of teen

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Chad Allen Neff

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In wake of fatal crash, Chad Neff remembered for love of sports, music, girls

By Amber Marra -- amarra@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- Friends and family of Chad Allen Neff describe him as "a sports nut" and, at times, "a ladies man."

Neff, a junior at Central High School who was killed in a single-vehicle crash on U.S. 11 Wednesday, was the youngest of eight children in his family, according to his mother, Melissa Barb.

"He had a lot of good friends. He got into mischief, but he wasn't bad," Barb said. "Boys are boys."

Barb, who has been Neff's adoptive mother since he was 1, can now only turn to the memories she has stored away of her son.

Neff, 17, of Woodstock, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash Wednesday night after he was ejected from a car he was riding in with a friend, according to state police spokesman Sgt. F.L. Tyler.

Speed appears to have been a factor in the crash, which occurred at about 6 p.m. when the 1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse struck an embankment at 22255 Old Valley Pike north of Woodstock, Tyler said.

The vehicle was traveling south when it ran off the right side of the road and hit the embankment, ejecting Neff.

While Neff died of his injuries at the scene, the driver was flown to a University of Virginia hospital by helicopter. The driver, who also is a teenage boy, stumbled from the wreckage after the crash and was screaming, "Oh my God, my best friend." His identity has not been released due to his age. Neither of the boys was wearing a seat belt, Tyler said.

By Thursday morning, a Facebook page titled "R.I.P. Chad Neff 1993-2010" was created and filled with posts in remembrance of the boy that Chelsea Garcia, 16, of Woodstock, knew since the fourth grade as her neighbor who would show up at odd hours of the night just wanting to hang out and have some dinner.

"He was my best friend in the whole entire world," she said. "He always went the farthest to make someone laugh ... he was a great friend."

Garcia also commented on the fact that Neff, like so many teenage boys, was intensely interested in girls.

"He was always a ladies man; he was very sweet to girls," she said. "All the girls had a soft spot for Chad."

Ashleigh Lockley, 18, of Winchester, knew Neff since middle school, and remembered his love of Sammie, an R&B singer.

"I just remember everything about him, his smile and laugh," Lockley said. "He loved this singer named Sammie and would always say, 'I wish I could sing just like him.'"

Along with the typical teenage love of girls and music, Neff also enjoyed a variety of sports, his mother said. He was an avid fan of the Dallas Cowboys and enjoyed basketball, lacrosse, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Barb said Neff's love of lacrosse was so great that he dreamed of one day playing for the University of Virginia.

"He was a good boy, I'll miss him greatly," Barb said.

Funeral and memorial service arrangements were incomplete as of Thursday, according to Barb.


Melissa and family: I am so sorry for your loss... What a tragic loss of potential and I know your family did everything to give him a wonderful upbringing... Do not blame yourself, as I'm sure you did everything possible to protect him... Reggie Arno Danville, VA...

My deepest sympathy goes out to his parents, family and friends. It is truly a parents' worst nightmare. May his passing not be in vain if it will give other teens pause in safe driving. Honor his memory by putting safety first while behind the wheel. Lives depend on it.

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