LEXINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — A Davidson County family was brought to tears as they shared memories of 17-year-old Austin Gaither.

He died in a motorcycle crash. Highway Patrol troopers said a drunk driver hit him head on Friday as he rode down Linwood-Southmont Road in Lexington.

There’s a memorial set up at the site of the crash with balloons, flowers and candles. Many people slowed down or stopped by to see it Monday afternoon and remember the teenager who loved to ride.

“If he wasn’t going fast, he wasn’t living,” said James Rose, Austin’s stepfather.

Austin had a passion for his motorcycle and for making others smile.

“He never met a stranger,” Rose said. “Everybody he met, he became friends with.”

His sister Kelly Gaither said Austin always had a smile on his face.

“Never, never sad,” she said. “He was always happy no matter what.”

That joy is what his family will miss most about him. The 17-year-old had a birthday coming up at the end of July.

“My brother should be home,” Kelly said.

Instead, his family will lay him to rest because of someone else’s decision.

“We’ll never get our member back,” Rose said. “He stole something from us that we can’t … get back.”

Austin was on his way home Friday night shortly after 9 p.m.

He was less than two minutes away from his house when troopers said the driver of a pick-up truck tried to pass a vehicle and hit Austin’s motorcycle head-on.

Troopers said the driver, 27-year-old Byron Hyde, was impaired at the time. His actions left Austin’s family with a hole in their life.

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“He didn’t deserve to die at 17 years old,” Rose said. “No kid deserves to die at 17 years old.”

Austin’s family and friends will gather for a visitation Tuesday night starting at 7 p.m. at Davidson Funeral Home in Lexington. 

His funeral is Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.