MONTPELIER, VA (WWBT) - A Louisa family is planning a funeral just days before Christmas after a high school football player is killed in a crash.
Loved one says 16-year-old Jaden Athey was driving home from work when he lost his life in Hanover Monday night.
"We lost a young man too soon..." is the message on the Louisa High School football team's Facebook page after one of their own is killed in a crash.
"It hurt. I ain't going to lie, I cried this morning when I heard," says Blake Jones, who worked with Athey at the Subway on Mountain Road in Montpelier. "He was the model of who you should be. He didn't care if you were black, white, purple, gray he was going to treat you the same way you should be treated."
Family says Athey was training as a manager and had just closed for the night. He was driving home from work when the accident happened. The Subway is just three miles from the crash site. Investigators say Athey ran off the side of the road and hit a tree.
"I looked out my window and I could see a light and I figured somebody had wrecked," says Jamill Jenkins, who lives near the crash site.
Jenkins says he ran out with another neighbor who called police.
"We kind of went close and we asked if he was alright, but we didn't hear anything," he said.
Police are still investigating what led to the accident. Family members tell NBC12 that officers say it looks like the teen swerved to avoid hitting something, over-corrected and crashed. Investigators say Athey was pronounced dead at the scene.
The teen leaves behind a large family, including his parents and three siblings. They say he was also part of the track & field team and was spiritual.
"I'm just praying for them," says Jones. "He was the nicest dude I've known. He always has a smile on his face. I've never seen him with a frown. Never."
Grief counselors were available at the elementary, middle and high school in Louisa on Tuesday.
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