Father Of Student Killed In Crash Deals With Second Loss

Posted at 10:06 PM, Jul 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-16 23:32:27-04

The father of a Murfreesboro high school football player killed in a crash said he lost his other son to gun violence almost to the day three years ago.

Johntae Adams, age 16, died on July 15 after the car he was in somehow drove off Dilton Mankin Road in Murfreesboro and crashed into Lytle Creek

The crash killed a second teenager and injured three others. All five occupants were students at Blackman High School, according to the principal. 

Johntae was a football player described to be a friendly classmate who talked to everyone and always smiled. 

His family joined hundreds of students, community members, and faculty at the high school gymnasium for a vigil remembering the victims.

"It really helps us through these trying times," Theodore Adams, Johntae's father, told NewsChannel 5. "It really gives us fuel like wind beneath our wings to help us be strong through another moment and another day."

The fatal crash was yet another difficult time inflicted on Theodore and his family. On July 14, 2014, his 18-year-old son DeShaun Sawyers was killed in a shooting at a convenience store in south Nashville. 

NewsChannel 5 was there for Deshaun's vigil three years ago, which was also held at Blackman High School where he had recently graduated from. 

"We were just celebrating the memorial of my son DeShaun. It has been a very difficult time for our family," Theodore added.

Other people who attended the vigil on Sunday included Barbara McKinley who was the first neighbor to come across the wreck. 

Prior to the vigil, she spoke to NewsChannel 5 as she recalled the moments after three of the teenagers got out of the burning car.

"The trees were engulfed in flames, the car was on fire, and the kids were screaming," McKinley remembered. "It was just a bad scene."

McKinley said she kept one of the teenagers back from returning to the car because of the dangerous situation. 

"He laid his head on my shoulders and cried, and I held him because there's nothing else I could do," she said. "I was praying to God that those kids trapped in there weren't suffering."

Officials have not publicly identified the second student killed, but several classmates and parents told NewsChannel 5 it was Ethan Economy.

A memorial page on Facebook has been set up by a family member saying, "Ethan was well-loved by so many."

The Tennessee Highway Patrol has been leading the investigation and has not released a preliminary report. 

The cause of the crash remained under investigation.