Westmoreland County, Va. (WTVR)–Balloons and black roses mark the spot where 19-year-old Tevin Jones crashed his motorcycle early Sunday morning.
Eighteen hours later on Sunday Night Football, his brother Torrey Smith, a wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens, would honor him with an emotional and impressive performance.
On Chatham Road in Westmoreland County there’s a gaping hole between utility poles, a tragic reminder of how Jones’ life ended Sunday.
“I was like no way, it can’t be true,” Tara Johnson said, who knew Jones well. They dated years ago and have remained friends.
She said Jones sent her a text late Saturday asking about a party. “He was asking me about was it worth coming to the party, and I was like, probably not.”
“I just told him to stay where he was,” she said.
She doesn’t believe Jones ever went to the party, instead opting for a visit to his grandparents’ house. Johnson said Jones was very much a family-oriented guy, and added that he loved and looked up to his siblings, especially his big brother, Torrey.
After learning of the tragedy, Smith said he called his mom to make a Sunday night game-time decision.
“She was like, ‘of course he’d want you to play, he admired you so much,’” Smith said. “Which makes it a tough situation altogether.”
Possibly even tougher, Jones died just up the street from his grandparents’ home. For now, the balloons and roses roadside will remind them of the tragedy.
Friends say it just doesn’t seem real.
“He was always supposed to be here,” Johnson said. Something like a security blanket she said.
Johnson said Tevin was also a phenomenal football player, who was always joking and laughing.
Smith scored two touchdowns in the Ravens 31-30 last-second win over the Patriots Sunday night, a victory Torrey Smith dedicated to his baby brother.