DENTON, N.C. (WGHP) — It was a night full of tears, hugs and even a few laughs.
Members of the Denton community gathered to honor the three victims of a deadly head-on crash on NC 109 in Davidson county.
Every space in the church parking lot had a car in it. About 300 people were inside the church. People even sat outside watching the service on a projector.
It was a testament to how important this family is to this community and how much support they have in this heartbreaking time.
A line of cars stretched down the road as hundreds of people came to Denton Wesleyan Church for the Palmer family’s vigil.
There were prayers, songs and memories shared of Brittany Carter and her two sons, Ayden and Lincoln Palmer.
“Brittany was a great mother,” said Dwayne Freeman, the boys’ martial arts instructor. “She loved her boys. Ayden’s come a long way in the past three years. Lincoln was my buddy. He was the cutest kid I’ve ever seen.”
After the service, people walked out the doors of the church with candles in their hands and gathered in the parking lot. Some people knew the Palmers.
“I couldn’t imagine having this much support,” said Jeremy Taylor, who coached one of the boys in football. “You don’t think you’ve got that many people in your corner, but you do.”
Others didn’t know them personally.
“I just couldn’t imagine this happening to me,” said Gina Giles, who attended the vigil. “I mean it took three seconds, and this man’s life has been destroyed.”
They all lit candles and stood in silence, remembering the family.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness shall not overcome it,” the pastor said. “Thank you, God, for their lives and their light.”
The tributes keep coming in for the family. A memorial sitting on the side of NC 109 near the spot of the fiery crash is growing every day. People have dropped off dozens of flower bouquets, stuffed animals and balloons.
At South Davidson Middle School, the basketball team painted a rock out front with the number 21 and angel wings. It’s the same number 12-year-old Ayden wore on his jersey.
“I helped coach the first year that he played, and he was one of the most humble nicest kids on the team,” Taylor said.
This community knows the days to come will be tough, but Brittany and her two sons will live on through the memories they made with loved ones.
“Even though one may die, you can still see their face and hear their voice because of the memories,” The pastor said.
A fundraising group is selling t-shirts to raise money for the surviving family members and for funeral costs. They’ve sold 50 already and are getting more orders every day. They’re also collecting donations.