Crash victims had shared interest

Published 11:13 pm Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The two men killed in separate vehicles in a car crash on Indian Trail Sunday shared a love for the outdoors.

Thomas Ashburn, 28, loved fishing, golf and working outside, according to his boss.

“He was at a very fun point in his life,” said Steve Geller, the lessee at Suffolk Golf Course where Ashburn worked. “He was a stranger to no one.”

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Ashburn always met people with a smile on his face, Geller said.

“He was a very happy person with a zest for life that was unmatched. He was an outstanding employee, dedicated, honest individual.

“I’m a better man for knowing and having him work for me at Suffolk Golf Course.”

The other victim of the wreck, Shane Blair, 18, loved to hunt, fish and go four-wheeling, according to his obituary.

“We had a number of conversations about hunting and fishing,” David Blevins, Blair’s pastor, said. “I think that’s a love that he got from his grandfather as well as his stepdad.”

Blevins, who has known Blair about five years, said Blair was a vital part of the youth group at Liberty Baptist Church who was admired by younger teens and loved by his peers.

“So many people loved him and appreciated him. I’m happy he knew the Lord as his personal savior,” Blevins said, adding that the church’s prayers are with Ashburn’s family and the recovery of Benjamin Copeland, who survived the crash.

The crash occurred at 4:36 p.m. on Aug. 16. According to a police report, Ashburn’s 2009 Volkswagen Jetta crossed the center line of the roadway and collided head-on with a 1994 GMC 1500 driven by Copeland, 17. Blair was a passenger in Copeland’s vehicle.

Ashburn, a Virginia Tech graduate, is survived by his parents, a brother, and numerous cousins and aunts. His funeral was held Wednesday.

Blair, a King’s Fork High School student, was a member of Liberty Baptist Church, the APA Nine Ball League and Buckhorn Hunt Club. He is survived by his mother and stepfather, father and stepmother, five siblings, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Efforts to reach the men’s families were unsuccessful.

The cause of the accident still is pending further investigation.