MARIEMONT, OH (FOX19) - The father of Collin Barton made time Wednesday in the wake of his son's tragic death to speak out to teens and their parents.
Sean Barton says his family is a private one, but he stepped out in front of the cameras for one reason: to try and pull something positive out of a devastating tragedy.
Collin had been missing since Sunday morning before his body was found Tuesday afternoon off of Wooster Pike. Police believe he was hit by a car while walking home from a party.
"The number of things and decisions that had to line up in the last 24 hours of Collin's life for this to happen seem impossible, but they did," Sean Barton said. "We all have to make thousands of decisions every day. You cannot predict which one will end badly."
Sean Barton is not yet able to talk about his son's death but by pulling strength from his life, he wants to use Collin's story to help others.
"Please parents, talk to your kids," Sean urged. "Kids, talk to your parents. Parents be strong. Don't be afraid to say 'no'. Kids, be strong. Don't be afraid to say 'no' to your friends."
Barton says the night before Collin died he had asked to spend the night at a sleep over, but ended up hanging out at another location in Mariemont before he decided to walk home along the roadway.
"I can't second guess my decision," Sean said. "These kids at that age group, they want to do what they want to do and they're willing to lie to their parents to do it. Collin was a great kid. Ask anybody, they'll tell you. His friends are great kids and they lied too."
Sean made a point to speak directly to Collin's friends to tell them that they cannot focus on the 'What ifs'.
"It's OK to be sad but it's not OK to feel guilty," Sean said. "We're all feeling it. What could we have done differently? This question haunts us all."
At the same time Sean urges teens everywhere to consider their future, and to do their best to make smart, safe decisions.
"What you can do, what my family is asking you to do is consider your decisions in another way," Sean explained. "Think about the outcome, what may or may not happen. Think beyond whether this is fun or not. Think beyond what you want to do and consider what is safe and what your parents would want you to do."
At the same time, Sean recognizes there will be times teens do not make the best decisions.
"Don't be so afraid to tell your parents the truth and follow the rules," he said. "Your life may depend on it."
Collin says it is the simple age-old words of wisdom teens should consider like always using the buddy system and calling home no matter the circumstance.
Sean says their family is asking anyone looking to memorialize Collin to consider making a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma society, a cause dear to the family.
Sean Barton says currently no funeral plans have been made.