Published: Feb 15, 2012 02:00 AM
Modified: Feb 13, 2012 06:59 PM
Wreck kills 2 teens
Girls were best friends
ORANGE COUNTY - Two teens killed in a Saturday wreck on a rural Orange County road were best friends who found each other at a difficult time in their lives, one girl's father said Monday."Those two kids got together, and the sun came out," Efland resident Jimmy Shivers said.Catherine Elizabeth "Beth" Shivers, 19, was a 2011 graduate of Cedar Ridge High School and a freshman at UNC Pembroke, where she was studying to be a nurse. Her friend, 16-year-old Samantha Faith Tilley, of Hillsborough, was a sophomore at Cedar Ridge.Samantha was the only child of Dwight and Susan Davidson Tilley. At Cedar Ridge, she was a member of the chorus, and she also was active in the youth group at West Hill Baptist Church and at Crosslink Community Church. Her family was not available Monday.School officials brought in members of the Critical Incident Stress Management team Monday to talk with students affected by the tragedy.A bouquet of bright orange daylilies and other flowers marked the wooded area northwest of Chapel Hill where Shivers and Tilley were killed. N.C. Highway Patrol troopers said Tilley was driving her 2005 Toyota on the gravel portion of Buckhorn Road just south of Bradshaw Quarry Road when the car ran off the road to the left. Tilley then overcorrected and hit a tree, troopers said.According to Highway Patrol reports, Tilley was not wearing a seat belt, and Shivers said it was likely his daughter was only wearing the lap belt, because her weight made the shoulder belt uncomfortable. Troopers estimated the car was going about 55 mph in a 45 mph zone.Under North Carolina's graduated license program, licensed drivers under the age of 18 can drive unsupervised between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. and can have one passenger who is younger than 21 years old.Shivers said he doesn't blame anyone for the accident, but it's been tough to lose someone else. Two young sons died years ago from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and in 2005, his wife, Mary Kathleen McNeer Shivers, died after a short battle with neuroendrocrine cancer.Shivers said he's trying to stay strong for his son, 16-year-old Mitchell, and he wants people to know what wonderful young people his daughter and Tilley were. Their last conversation was Saturday when the girls left to buy flea medication for a neighbor's cat, he said."She said, 'I love you' ... that's the last I saw of her," Shivers said.After their mother died, Shivers said he pushed to have all of their children checked, because neuroendocrine tumors can be hereditary. In February 2006, doctors found one in Beth's brain, just months after her mother died. At 13, she had a 50 percent chance to recover - 75 percent with radiation and surgery, Shivers said.By August, 37 radiation treatments and invasive surgery cleaned up the tumor. Beth's doctor said she was "the bravest child he'd ever seen," Shivers said, and to celebrate her recovery, the Make-A-Wish Foundation sent the family to Disney World."Beth always had a smile. You couldn't keep her down," Shivers said.She was homeschooled for a time, eventually returning to Cedar Ridge High School as a sophomore. It was a tough transition, and part of what brought the girls together, Shivers said.Tilley's mother and aunts would regularly invite Shivers to join them for shopping and other trips. They even took her on a family vacation to Myrtle Beach, he said. She always had to be careful, because her head was very fragile, and the slightest bump could be dangerous, he said.At school, Shivers found her niche in the chorus, continuing a family tradition of music. Her father is a veteran piano and organ player, who performs to raise money for cancer patients and their families. Beth also played the piano, he said.