HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- A shattered cell phone and growing memorial marks the spot on Cold Harbor Road where two young lives were lost and four others were injured Saturday night.
“I had to tell his mom that he passed away,” said Nathan Johnson, best friend and teammate to Dylan Ballard, who died the crash.
“I broke down in the middle of the hospital, I was screaming and punching things,” Johnson said,”it`s like I lost a piece of my heart.”
Hours earlier the Lee Davis High School senior and football star, number 28, was splashing around with friends after a day at the racetrack.
One of those friends was Elliott Hinton; a Lee Davis graduate and Radford University student who would have celebrated his 23rd birthday this week. Instead, his family will bury him and tend to his brother Patrick, who was critically injured in the accident.
Friends remembered Hinton as a man who brightened their days.
"He was a good time; fun to be around,” Chase Carter, one of Hinton’s friends, said. “You couldn't be in a bad mood when you were around him."
Morgan Simmons wept along with hundreds of other Lee Davis students.
She was supposed to spend this week shopping for a tuxedo for Ballard.
He just asked his 'princess' to go to prom with him.
‘He was holding a sign that said every prince needs a princess and I said ‘yeah I’d love to go to prom with you,” Simmons recounted. “I showed him my dress and he said ‘it`s royal blue my favorite color.’”
“I know he was loved by so many people,” said Jenna Whitt, a Lee Davis senior.
On Sunday the Lee Davis community filled the football stadium, to pray for Ballard and Hinton.
Hanover County Superintendent of Schools released the following statement in the wake of the tragedy:
“We are heartbroken to learn of the tragic deaths of Dylan Ballard and Elliott Hinton, and we extend our deepest sympathy to their family and friends. We will continue to keep them in our thoughts and prayers, along with the remaining individuals who were seriously injured in this crash.” Dr. Michael Gill said.
Grief counselors will be at Lee-Davis High Monday to help students and staffers.
Johnson, Ballard’s best friend, is selling stickers and t-shirts to raise money for Ballard’s funeral. His sister did all of the screenprinting. All proceeds go to the Ballard family.
A GoFundMe has been created for Ballard’s expenses, as well.
Hanover police said the cause of the wreck remains under investigation and that their crash team is analyzing all the circumstances surrounding the incident. Anyone with information is asked to call the Hanover County Sheriff's Office at 804-365-6140.