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Friends of Springfield teenager killed in Highway 65 wreck open up about the loss

Classmates visit memorial alongside highway near the site of the wreck
Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 8:02 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Dozens of Glendale High School students made their way out on Monday to the site of a weekend wreck that killed 17-year-old Cole Tedford.

His friends and other classmates created a memorial for him along Highway 65 where the wreck happened. Several students stopped by the site, offering flowers, thoughts and reflections on the life of their fellow classmate.

“Cole, he was wild," friend Cade Carroll said Monday. "He was the most entertaining person you would meet he was the life. He knew how to brighten people’s days up.”

Carroll described him as the person “that everyone wanted to be around.”

Tedford’s friend’s said he was also very involved at school. He was a “passionate” wrestler on the school team, they said.

Another friend said Tedford originally lived in Arkansas, and later moved right next door to him.

“He lived right up the street from me and I was his first friend," Tre Moldenhauer said. "He’s been by my side my whole life. We’ve been best friends as long as I can remember.

While some friends did not receive the news until the day after the wreck, Moldenhauer said Tedford’s mother called him around 3 o’clock in the morning after the wreck.

“His mom called me and told me the news because she had just found out,” he said. "And I was up all night after that. I just couldn’t. It’s not something you can put in to terms.”

Moldenhauer said the news was hard to believe.

“It’s still unbelievable,” he said.

Friends described him as a person of “passion.”

“He was super passionate about wrestling and super passionate at every sporting event,” Carroll said. “You know when you would go to a football game, a basketball game or a volleyball game he was the one in the front row cheering everybody on.”

His friends said an incident like Saturday’s “did not deserve to happen to anybody.”

“Cole was too young and he had too many great things ahead of him,” Carroll and Moldenhaur said. “He was destined for greatness and was taken from us.”

The two also added that they hope the community can continue to reflect on this and learn from it. They said they want people to remember the type of person he was.

“I hope the school takes part in remembering him,” friend Seth Wooten said. “He was one of those people at school that everyone knew. Everyone knew his name. He was one of my first friends I ever made in life.”

A Springfield Public Schools spokesperson told KY3 in an email that the entire district and Glendale community are mourning the loss of Tedford. Counselors were also on hand today at Glendale High School.

Around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, the Springfield Police Department responded to the wreck, which involved four cars.

Investigators said Tedford was driving gold Chevrolet Malibu and traveling north on Eastgate from Sunshine. The car then accelerated rapidly and veered across the southbound lane of travel and through a fence onto the northbound lanes of U.S. 65.

According to police, the Malibu rolled before coming to rest on its wheels facing southbound in the northbound lanes of U.S. 65. The vehicle was then struck head-on by a Volkswagen traveling northbound.

Two additional vehicles traveling northbound attempted to stop, but were unable to, striking the Malibu and Volkswagen.

Tedford died from injuries in the crash. The driver of the Volkswagen was sent to a local hospital with moderate, but non-life-threatening injuries.

Officers with the Springfield Police Department’s traffic section continue to investigate the circumstances involved in the crash. Police say speed and other circumstances appear to be a contributing factor.

This is the 19th fatality motor vehicle crash and the 21st crash-related death of 2020 in Springfield.

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