A car crash Sunday night in Shelby County claimed the life of 28-year-old Darius Lilly.
Lilly died in a crash off Highway 25 in Calera. Police say witness reports indicate another driver, Hunter Spann, was trying to pass a vehicle, when he hit Lilly head-on.
This is the second tragedy in Lilly's family in three weeks. His 2-year-old son died from a medical issue last month. The crash leaves Lilly's wife and daughter with half their family gone, weeks before Christmas.
The Lilly family's neighbor, Nicole Destin is still in shock.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I was like, 'this couldn’t be real,' until I talked to his family and realized it was real. Life is really short. You have to tell people you love them everyday. I’m glad we were such good friends that he knew that I loved him and his family.”
Destin considered Lilly, like family. She says he was hard-working to support his young, beautiful family.
“He was always laughing,” she said. “He was always willing to help, to lend a hand. See me with groceries? He would come in. If my car was dirty, he would come wash my car. He was just a great guy, so losing his son was extremely hard.”
Destin shares in the loss of the 2-year old son. She often babysat the family’s children.
“He taught me to love more, to laugh more, to forgive,” she said. “He was just a sweet little boy.”
Brandon Davis lives off Highway 25, near where the crash happened. He called 911 Sunday, when he heard the vehicles collide.
“It was this loud bang, and it was like metal crashing against each other,” he recalled.
He pleads to the community to pay closer attention behind the wheel.
“It must be a lot for their family to handle,” he told us. “It’s a lot all at one time, especially around Christmas. It’s got to be pretty emotional.”
That’s a sentiment Destin shares.
“Drive safe,” she said. “Be patient. Nothing is that important that you have to rush to get somewhere, because people’s lives are on the line.”
Destin said she's been in touch with Lilly's wife and offered support and prayer.
“She’s hanging in there,” Destin said. “Those that know God and the power of God, please continue to pray for her because she needs much prayer. Right now, she’s just going through the motions because she can’t believe that two tragic experiences back to back but she believes in God. She has faith. She has a loving family, both her side and his side so they’ve been by her side. She knows I’m here if she needs anything. So just keep her lifted in prayer.”
Calera Police have not yet announced any charges in connection to this crash. The chief tells ABC 33/40 the investigation is ongoing.