ZEBULON, N.C. (WNCN) – Several dozen people came together Monday night for a vigil to remember Tachina Smith, 18, who died in a crash Saturday.
They gathered at the intersection of Pilot-Riley and Williams White roads, the scene of the horrific crash.
“She was a good girl, she was good,” Tiffany Smith, Tachina’s mother said.
Smith told CBS North Carolina her daughter was an honor roll student, the first in her family to go to college. Tachina wanted to be a doctor.
“She’s next to the oldest out of seven kids. And we got just got her off to college. She was going to Pembroke. And it hurts. No parent wants to bury a child before themselves,” Smith said.
In the wake of the tragedy, Smith said she thought it was important for Tachina’s brothers and sisters and their friends to have a place to gather and to pray.
“She was always happy. She always cared about others,” Cameron Bethune, Tachina’s high school friend said.
According to State Highway Patrol, Tachina was in the back seat of a friend’s car. Authorities have identified that friend as Makel Breece, 18, and they said he ran a stop sign and plowed into another car.
Breece has been charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.
Smith has said she forgives the driver. But in an unexpected move, Breece attended the vigil and hugged her. It was the first time Smith said she’d seen him since the crash.
“I’ve been knowing this baby since he was in middle school. He’s not a bad kid. He’s never been a bad kid. He’s a good kid. And it happened, and I feel like if I hold a grudge, I’m not going to prosper from that. So I forgive him,” Smith said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Smith’s family pay for the funeral expenses.
Her funeral is scheduled for Saturday at noon at the Haywood Funeral Home in Raleigh.