Grieving mother shares drunk driving plea for Labor Day weekend drivers

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Bowling Green native Johnetta Pryor wore many hats in her life in the early 80s: a wife, a singer and on October 24, 1982, became a mother to her first son. 

Johnetta said the bond they had can’t be described by words alone.

“He was my sidekick. He was my wing man,” said Johnetta.

Jeremy knew from early on that school wasn’t the path for him. No, for Jeremy, only music could ignite his spark. It’s a passion that he shared with his mother. 

“It was just always me and him going to every music show we could catch from the time he could walk until he passed away,” said Johnetta.

When Jeremy got older he and his little brother Joey became a big part of his mother’s pub. Jeremy helped drive home patrons under the influence many nights of the week.

One fall night in 2014, one of Jeremy’s other part time delivery jobs as a delivery worker should have already ended, but he wasn’t answering any phone calls. Around 9:00 p.m., people started to get worried.

“At 10 o’clock, 10:15, we still didn’t hear anything. 10:30, nobody heard, so everyone’s calling Jeremy. I called and left a message that just said where are you. I don’t even use those words anymore,” Johnetta remembered.

At 11:00 p.m., police showed up to tell Johnetta her son was gone. On that cold November night, seven years ago, a drunk driver killed Jeremy Pryor, ending his life at only 32 years old. 

“My whole life has changed in seven years. 2,478 days, I’ll never forget, I count it. I count it by the days… I’m stuck in that moment. Even though I move on-I know Jeremy wants me to-there’s no moving on,” Johnetta said. 

But one light that lets her open her eyes each morning is the fact that Jeremy found that “it” that everybody is searching for, right there at the end. 

“He got to where he wanted to be in life,” Johnetta said. “He was just finishing up working in Nashville, plus he had a new band that he was in, writing songs. He just completed those, and he was where he wanted to be in life.”

And Johnetta still carries a piece of Jeremy with her through a voicemail that he sent her on her birthday. 

The voicemail says, “I wouldn’t have the freedoms in my night life if it wasn’t for you. You’re the one that builds me up and holds me there. I love you mama. To me, you’re not getting older, you’re getting younger.”

Also, Johnetta still connects with her son the way they always have, through Jeremy’s music that he left behind.