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Family: Boy killed in crash had memorable smile, 'captured hearts' of small town

"You didn't have to know him for him to put a smile on your face."
Posted at 5:54 PM, Sep 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-29 18:38:59-04

WAVERLY, Va. -- Life for a Waverly family has been forever changed after a deadly crash Saturday on Interstate 95 in Petersburg.

"It's still unreal," said Jessie McCann.

The 22-year-old is mourning the dealing death of his six-year old brother and his mom remains in the hospital with a broken neck.

"Everything hasn't officially hit me, I guess you could say," said McCann.

McCann said the Saturday crash happened in a moment.

"We ended up hearing a smack behind us," said McCann recalled. "Me and my mom looked behind us and that's when we got hit."

The impact from the semi pushed the 94 Ford Ranger forward.

"We hit the car in front of us and somehow, we spun, then the front of the truck hit the barrier in the middle and then something destroyed the side of the truck my mom was on," said McCann.

Jamie McCann was seriously injured, suffering three breaks in her neck and shattered two of her vertebrae.

Six-year-old Ryan was in the back seat.

"He was knocked unconscious and you know, it's all still a blur for me," said McCann.

EMS arrived at the scene and paramedics worked hard to save the first grader.

"They tried their best to help him, they definitely tried to help my brother," said McCann.

But Ryan died a short time later.

McCann described his little brother as a little boy who captured the hearts of a small town.

"You didn't have to know him for him to put a smile on your face," said McCann. "You know, he could walk into one of those stores here in town and every employee knew who he was, and he would put a smile on their face."

The family was already facing its share of medical problems.

"We've been through so much already together, with my sister, you know, this sucks, it's really going to bring us closer," said McCann.

Jessie's 5-year-old baby sister Samantha spends 24/7 on a ventilator.

Her mom, Jamie McCann, is her stay at home caretaker.

"You know now that my mom's hurt and when she comes home, she's not going to be able to be Johnny on the Spot helping my sister."

Family and friends have set up two GoFundMe Accounts to help the family with funeral and medical expenses and for help with Samantha.