Steven Wilson was remembered Monday night at a candlelight vigil at Thomson High School after tragically being killed in a head-on collision the night before while in the company of his girlfriend, who was critically injured.
The crash between Mr. Wilson's car and a Jeep, occupied by six people, including a 1-year-old infant, occurred about 9:40 p.m. on the Wrens Highway, approximately 2 1/2 miles south of Thomson. The crash killed the 20-year-old Mr. Wilson, a 2006 graduate of Thomson High School. He played the flute in the marching band.
Mr. Wilson's girlfriend, Crystal Williams, 16, a junior, who also is a marching band member at THS, was a passenger in his car.
Mr. Wilson and Miss Williams had been dating for the past two months, according to friends.
At the rock, located on the front lawn of Thomson High School, students painted it black earlier in the afternoon and wrote: "In loving memory, Steven Wilson."
"I knew him pretty well," said Tyler McDowell, 18, a junior at Thomson High School. "We always hung out together, working on cars and working at White Columns Inn."
At White Columns, Mr. McDowell washed dishes before getting another job. Mr. Wilson worked there as a cook.
"He was one of my best friends," said Mr. McDowell. "He liked redoing the interiors of cars. He did his own car - the same one he wrecked.
Another friend of Mr. Wilson's, Chris Sorley, 16, a junior, said, "He always talked about his girlfriend - like how he couldn't wait to see her and things like that. I think he was in love. He acted a lot like his younger brother, Cool Kyle."
Corey Wizemann, 16, and also a junior at Thomson High School, said he had known Mr. Wilson for about two years.
"He was a pretty good guy," Corey said. "He had a real original personality that made everybody like him."
Heather McHatton, 17, a senior and a member of the THS Band Flag Line, said of Mr. Wilson: "He was so funny. He was someone friends enjoyed picking at because he could take it. He never got mad about it."
Following graduation, Mr. Wilson still felt loyal and dedicated to the band and came back to work as a volunteer when he found the time, Heather said.
"He was a person who could make you laugh about everything," said Amber Merryman, 16, a junior and also a member of the THS Flag Line.
Jordan Lewis, 17, a senior, who plays the trumpet in the band, said of Mr. Wilson, "He was a lively person. He always had fun doing different things. He was a friendly person."
As for Williams, who is recovering from her injuries at the Medical College of Georgia Hospital in Augusta, Heather said she's praying for a full recovery.
"It's so tragic," Heather said. "I hope she gets better and is able to come back to school soon."
Funeral services for Mr. Wilson are scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 24, in the Thomson First Baptist Church, with Rev. Ted Miller officiating. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday night at the funeral home.