The death of Chase Burnett rocked the town of Fayetteville. More than 200 friends and family members visited his parents' home Sunday night.
Chase’s classmates at McIntosh High School were so shaken by the news that they remained silent throughout lunch period the following Monday morning, and signed a memorial wall in his honor.
"Chase was accepted, adored, loved and respected by all his peers, friends and adults. He absolutely loved life,” said his father, David Burnett. “We’re sincerely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support that we have received.”
Chase Burnett, a 16-year-old honor student and junior varsity soccer player, died late Saturday night after smoking synthetic marijuana known as “Spice.” His father discovered Chase in a hot tub at the family’s Diamond Point residence early Sunday morning. The cause of death remains undetermined, but, according to Mr. Burnett, an autopsy is scheduled.
“If my son’s tragic mistake can save the life of another child, then his life will not have been in vain,” Mr. Burnett said. “He experimented and that unfortunately led to his death.”
Visitation is scheduled for Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Carl J. Mowell & Son Funeral Home, Peachtree City. A memorial service will be held Friday at 3 p.m. at First Baptist Church Peachtree City. The body will be available for viewing from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the church.
Chase, a sophomore, was born and raised in Fayette County and a member of First Baptist Church in Peachtree City. He was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and was outgoing, well-liked and kind to all he met.
“His smile was a lot like Tom Cruise’s in ‘Risky Business'. He was Mr. Hollywood,” said family friend Norris Blount. “All the kids adored him.”
Chase loved sports, was an avid snowboarder and dedicated himself to becoming a better soccer player. The McIntosh soccer program is one of the finest in the nation, a tradition that Chase was proud to be a part of. His support for his teammates was unwavering and the feeling was mutual.
“Chase was unbelievably dedicated and passionate about soccer,” said Drake Dale, Junior Varsity soccer coach at McIntosh. “He was the only kid that I’d see in the gym, and the only kid running laps before practice.”
Varsity head coach Bunky Coleman will start only ten players, a man down in honor of Chase, for the beginning of play at this Friday’s match against Whitewater High School until the first time out. At the first time out, a substitution for Chase will be made. Students and players alike will wear black armbands with the young man’s initials on them at Friday's game.
“As long as I am coach, the players will wear the bands in Chase’s memory,” Coach Dale said.
Chase is survived by his parents David and Yvette Corbitt Burnett of Fayetteville; brothers Tyler Andrew Burnett and Bryce David Burnett of Fayetteville; and grandparents Bill and Rita Corbitt of Vinton, Va.