AURORA, Ill. (CBS) — An overflow crowd filled Faith Lutheran Church in Aurora Wednesday evening in memory of a teen thrown from a car during a joyride with friends.
Devin Meadows, 15, was killed when the car he was riding in slammed into a home in Aurora around 2 a.m. Tuesday.
Friends spoke to how special Devin’s classmates at Metea Valley High School viewed him: as a football and track player, a student leader and as a friend.
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“He was very free-spirited, very talkative always around his friends,” said Angelica Punzo, who sometimes sat at Devin’s lunch table. “He was a good person to be around and talk to whenever you needed him. He had a great smile and was just a great person to be around.”
Others who spoke during the 90-minute service and outside afterward spoke of seeing Devin at the Eola Center shooting hoops earlier in the week. They said they still have difficulty believing he is gone and all say they will miss him.
Police said a 15-year-old boy was driving a Chevy Malibu, and three other 15-year-olds – including Meadows – were passengers when the car hit a tree, careened across the street, went up a small hill, hit another tree, and slammed into a garage in the 2700 block of Hamman Way in the Stonebridge subdivision in Aurora.
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Meadows, a sophomore, was not wearing a seat belt, and was thrown from the car and killed. The driver and other two passengers suffered minor injuries.
Gena Baymon, the mother of one of Meadows’ fellow football players at Metea Valley, said, “It’s very difficult and very hard to have a loss like this, and then to be there for our kids, and for our children, to watch them go through this pain.”
Timothy Bowling, a teammate of Meadows’, said there’s a lesson to be learned from his friend’s death.
“I think it’s what you make of it, besides listening to your parents. If he wouldn’t have snuck out in the first place, the whole situation might have been avoided,” Bowling told CBS 2’s Mike Parker.
Aurora police said the driver of the car had a learner’s permit, but not a driver’s license.
No charges have been filed against anyone involved as of Wednesday morning, and police said charges would not be filed until the investigation is completed, which could take two to three weeks. Police were waiting for the results of toxicology tests, but do not believe alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash.
Just last week, Meadows – who played wide receiver for the Metea Valley football team and was on the track team – posted this picture on his Twitter page, with the words “best friends” and #ridetilidie
Friends of Meadows’ have been sharing their grief on Twitter, using the hashtag #rememberdevin.