MARION COUNTY, S.C. — Authorities said one Ragsdale High School student is dead and two others injured after a car wreck Sunday morning near Marion, South Carolina.
Marion County officials said 18-year-old Rychon Hawkins was killed after the wreck which was reported on US Hwy 501 about five miles north of Marion around 5 a.m.
Officials said a 2012 Camaro headed north ran off the road and hit a tree, killing the front passenger.
The location of the wreck was about 40 miles northwest of Myrtle Beach.
“It just happened so quick. I just talked to him on the phone and he was just so happy,” explained Hawkins’ friend Rudy Johnson.
Authorities said another passenger remained in very serious or critical condition and a third was hospitalized in unknown condition.
He and others in the Ragsdale community say they’ll remember Hawkins for his big smile.
“He was just the happiest person you could ever meet. That’s what I’ll remember is that smile,” Johnson said.
DJ Brown said Hawkins was like his little brother. “I’ve always heard about stuff happening at Spring Break but I never thought of it happening to someone I was close to,” he admitted.
Hawkins and his girlfriend Dazia Smith have a son who will turn one-year-old in two weeks.
Smith admitted it was hard being young parents, but says Hawkins was always there for her. “He looks just like his Daddy. It’s gonna be so hard when he grows up and asks about his dad because he had a good one. He really did.”
Brown concluded, “I know his mama’s gonna miss him a lot. We miss him a lot… But we ain’t gonna forget about him. He’s in a better place. That’s all I can say.”
Many students continue to express their sadness over Hawkins’ death on Twitter.