LINCOLN COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- Tuesday was was supposed to be the first day of Brayden Hood's junior year at Troy Buchanan High School.
Instead, his family made the hardest drive of their lives to the site where the 16-year-old was killed.
Hood and fellow student Mario Montalvo were killed when the car they were riding in crashed on Highway 47 just west of Sunswept Drive Sunday night.
The driver of a 2007 Ford Fusion lost control of the vehicle and the car struck a tree, killing the two Troy boys and injuring three others.
The driver, who had been Hood’s best friend since kindergarten, and two other passengers were taken to local hospitals where their injuries range from minor to serious.
Tuesday, Hood’s family stood in front of a pile of flowers surrounded by framed photos and took stock of the most painful moment of their lives.
“It was pure shock and it still is shock that he didn’t pull through,” said his stepmother Christal. “Absolutely tragic. We don’t know what we do from here.”
Hood’s family says he loved singing and dancing on the school’s show choir and had dreams of becoming a choreographer.
But even amid their pain, they don’t want the driver to blame himself.
“He feels responsible and he’s not,” Chrystal said. “He would have never in a million years done anything to hurt Brayden, ever.”
Chrystal said the family is urging Lincoln County police to not press charges against the driver.
“It was a tragic accident and accidents happen,” she said.
As the investigation continues into the crash, Hood’s family spent what would have been his first day of school saying goodbye forever.
“I just want to hug you one more time, just one more,” Chrystal said, looking at his pictures. “I see you looking at me buddy. I love you so much.”
A GoFundMe has been created to help with Hood's funeral costs.