DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Hearts are heavy in Stone Mountain on Friday after a beloved teenager was killed in a car wreck Thursday evening.
The victim has been identified as 17-year-old Exzavier Wade. He was a junior at Stone Mountain High School.
Wade was killed in a single vehicle wreck around 6 p.m. Thursday on Sheppard Road. Investigators said the teen's car left the road and hit a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
FOX 5 spoke with several people who live in the neighborhood near where the accident happened. They told us it was raining hard when Wade crashed and he was driving on an already dangerous curve.
Kristen Shockley's family lives across the street from the accident scene. She said they tried to help following the crash, not even realizing it was a family friend inside the vehicle.
"I couldn't feel his pulse. I tried to pull him out of the car because he was still alive and I could hear him groaning. But when the smoke started coming out of the vents, they pulled me away from the car because they thought the car would catch on fire. We tried. We really tried. This is just so sad," Kristen Shockley said.
Robinson had just gotten off the phone with her son and was stunned when Wade’s friend knocked on her door with horrible news that her son was dead. She rushed to the scene only to find her son's car wedged in a ditched surrounded by firefighters.
"It's like the faster I ran, the further the car got from me. I just kept running and I saw the tail of his car sticking up. Before I could get to him, they stopped me and told me not to go any further. They said I wouldn't want to see my son like that. I just screamed, that's all I could do," Wade's mother, LaTonya Robinson said.
Friday morning, Stone Mountain High brought in grief counselors to help with students and teachers, who are devastated over the tragic news.
Wade was a very popular student. He had just made the principal's list and loved playing trombone for the band, an honor student, trombone for Stone Mountain's High School band. DeKalb County Schools told FOX 5 Wade was a straight-A student.
"We were preparing for him to go Florida A&M University. He was in their Summer Band Camp and looked forward to going to college there. I can't even believe he is gone, but I'm glad he led the kind of life that made people feel happy and inspired by him. We had a good 17 years together and he made a difference. I'm going to miss him, but he will always be in my heart," the heartbroken mother said.
More than two dozen students from Stone Mountain High School arrived at LaTonya Robinson's home on Friday afternoon bearing lots of hugs and fond memories of the teen. It was an unexpected, but much needed show of love and support for a woman who just lost her only child.
"I'm just overwhelmed. I knew he had a lot of friends but I didn't know it was like this. This means to so much to see how much 'Zay' was loved and I guess they all know how much we loved each other. We really were very close," Robinson said.
Wade's mother also said her son was an amazing young man who always wanted to make people laugh. She said he's now in heaven and they'll meet again soon.