ZILLAH, Wash. -- Friends of a Yakima Valley boy killed in a tragic car accident are speaking out.
Gone but never forgotten. If there's one thing 18-year-old Jerry Atkins left behind, it's the lasting impressions he made on those around him.
"If you didn't know Jerry it was a loss to you, but he was the best guy you'd meet," said David Gutierrez.
"Jerry's the kind of person that would just light up the room right when you come in," said Chris Castillo. "He would crack that smile on his face, and all of a sudden the mood changes and he never had problems with anyone. He was just such a great kid to be around."
"Say he was starving, he would give you his food just to make you happy instead of his own personal self," said Luis Ochoa. "He was just an unselfish guy. He was one of the best guys around."
"No matter what situation you're in he made it better." said Bobby Salinas. "He was just that go to guy. You see him at school, you see him on the streets, just see him anywhere. 'Hi Jerry, what's up? Hey man, Bobby,' whoever. Whoever it was he knew you."
Jerry's life was cut short when he ran a stop sign early Monday morning near Zillah. He crashed into another car and hit a utility pole. Jerry's friends said they're still in shock. They said it seems like just yesterday he was playing sports and making music, two of the things he loved the most.
"We'd also make music together," said Luis Gonzales. "He would rap and I'd do the beats, probably going to miss that the most."
"It's changed me," said Salinas. "It's made me want to live my life like Jerry did, to the fullest."
Jerry's friends said their thoughts are also with the driver of the other car on that tragic day, Cassandra Silva. She's in serious condition at a Seattle hospital.
Friends said the community has been very supportive and they want you to join them Wednesday night to honor Jerry's memory at the Zillah High School Football Stadium. A slide show accompanied by some of Jerry's favorite songs will start at 9:30.