Malik Cooper, 20, was on his way home to Atlanta from Tuskegee University in Alabama, where he was a business student. Cooper was carrying sadness with him on the road because his trip home was being made so that he could be a pallbearer for his best friend, 15-year-old Marquez Montgomery, who was fatally shot last week.
Cooper never made it home. He died in a one-car crash on Highway 85 in Alabama Sunday, WSB-TV reports.
"It just hurt me to my heart like someone came and ripped my heart away," Cooper's mother, Bridget Grimes, told the news station.
"It's a major blow to the family," Cooper's stepfather, Charles Grimes, said.
Atlanta police say that Marquez was shot by his cousin Dontavious Montgomery in November. Montgomery has been charged with murder, although his family says that the shooting was an accident.
Charles Grimes told the news station that even though the roads were wet, his stepson wanted to be there for his friend and their family.
"He was determined to get here to be a pallbearer, but unfortunately, accidents happened," Charles Grimes said.
Police say that Cooper's car left the road and flipped several times. Cooper was not wearing his seat belt when the car crashed. Cooper's family is hoping to use his death to warn other young adults about safe driving habits.
"Slow down," Charles Grimes said.
"Put your seat belt on, get off that FaceTime and trying to chat with your friends and pay attention to the roads," Bridget Grimes added.
Cooper's family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral costs.
Read more at WSB-TV.