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Lee-Davis High grieves senior, graduate killed in wreck: They brightened our days

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HANOVER COUNTY, Va. – A Lee-Davis High School senior and a graduate of the school were killed -- and four other young people were hospitalized -- after a single-vehicle wreck in Hanover County Saturday night.

The community gathered on the football field Sunday evening for a vigil to the pair.

The display was heart wrenching sight for the family of 17-year-old Dylan Ballard as the football player’s teammates walked the field in his memory.

Only weeks from graduation, the senior was killed in a single-vehicle wreck Saturday night.

"This community, it's going [through] a very tragic time,” Chase Mummau, one of Ballard’s teammates, said. “Dylan Ballard is a great human being and so was everyone else that was in the car."

Hanover deputies said six people were in a white Dodge Ram that veered off Cold Harbor Road and struck a tree around 10:30 p.m.

The driver and three passengers remain in critical but stable condition at VCU Medical Center, authorities said.

Ballard and Lee-Davis graduate, 22-year-old Elliot Hinton, died on the scene, according to investigators.

Friends remembered Hinton as a man who brightened their days.

"He was a good time; fun to be around,” Chase Carter, one of Hinton’s friends, said. “You couldn't be in a bad mood when you were around him."

Sunday was a day of mourning for the Lee-Davis community as a make-shift memorial was added to the crash site by friends of Ballard and Hinton.

Austin Boykin was a classmate and friend of Ballard.

“He was always in a good mood. He had a vibe he would give off,” Boykin said. “He was just an amazing person to be around.”

As the sun set, Ballard's grandfather told WTVR CBS 6 reporter Jake Burns the hundreds that gathered to remember two young lives cut short shows what love truly is.

Dylan Ballard and Elliot Hinton

Dylan Ballard and Elliot Hinton

“Everyone just loved Dylan Ballard,” Mummau said. “We're all here for his family. I've known them a very long time. If they ever need anything, they can come to me or any other guys on the football team. We're all one big family.”

Hanover County Superintendent of Schools released the following statement in the wake of the tragedy:

“We are heartbroken to learn of the tragic deaths of Dylan Ballard and Elliott Hinton, and we extend our deepest sympathy to their family and friends. We will continue to keep them in our thoughts and prayers, along with the remaining individuals who were seriously injured in this crash.” Dr. Michael Gill said.

Grief counselors will be at Lee-Davis High Monday to help students and staffers.

Hanover police said the cause of the wreck remains under investigation and that their crash team is analyzing all the circumstances surrounding the incident. Anyone with information is asked to call the Hanover County Sheriff's Office at 804-365-6140.