GREENSBORO, N.C. – After a heartbreaking loss, students and friends gathered at NC A&T University Wednesday to remember one of their own.
Destiny Jones, a rising senior from Gastonia, died in a head-on crash early Tuesday morning on I-40 in Alamance County. Her boyfriend says she was heading home from work.
Although campus is mostly empty this time of year, people flooded the campus, gathering for a vigil at the clock tower.
Turner Echols, Destiny’s boyfriend, shared the story of how he found out she had died with the people gathered there. He said when she didn't call him, he knew something was wrong. So, he headed out to I-40 to try to retrace her steps, and find her. Instead, a trooper told him she didn't make it.
“It’s going to take time, everybody says it's time,” he said.
It will take time to move on, but it's more time they wish they had with the 22-year-old rising senior.
“I’m a little torn...not a little, a lot,” confessed Echols, “My my close friend really keeps on saying you know, why are you lying to everybody, why are you saying you're good when you're not? I said you know, I'm just trying to keep it straight face for everybody especially for her parents, her mother.”
In the short time since her death, Echols has seen firsthand the impact she had.
“She really didn't think that she had a lot of people behind her but in the end, I really have realized over the past couple of days, that she has a lot of supporters, and she had a lot of people that loved her very, very much,” he said.
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“She wanted to make a difference. And she knew whatever it was, that she was going to work hard at it and be great at it,” said Destiny’s friend Toni Raley.
Destiny was a cheerleader in high school, and was majoring in Sports Science & Fitness at A&T. Her friends described her as the hardworking, caring, and always there for other when they needed her.
As they lit candles, and let balloons soar towards the heavens, they turned to God.
“God doesn't make any mistakes, and this is something that although we didn't wanted to happen, God had a plan for Destiny's life and she fulfilled it,” said Raley, “She was here for a purpose, she served her purpose, and I'll never forget her.”
The driver who hit and killed Destiny also died. Joshua Lamm, 24, made a U-turn into traffic, colliding with her car, head-on. Troopers don't believe he was under the influence, but the Highway Patrol is still investigating this accident, and calls it unique.
Troopers say most wrong-way crashes happen because people get on the wrong exit or entrance ramps, onto the interstate. That was not the case in this accident.