HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Family and friends are mourning a Douglas Freeman High School football player killed when his car ran off the road early Saturday morning in Henrico County’s West End.
“Hug your kids you just know it can change in a second one phone call and life changes,” said Roy Woolwine, Frank Woolwine’s father.
Roy’s life changed early Saturday morning.
His 16-year-old son, Roy Franklin Woolwine Jr., was driving when his vehicle struck a tree on Westham Parkway, just north of Pinetree Road, around 2:15 a.m. Saturday.
Since the accident, a makeshift memorial honoring the Douglas Freeman star football and lacrosse player marks the spot where his life ended.
“He was a very friendly kid obviously knew a lot of people,” his dad said. “It makes me proud he was out there being a gentleman and representing our family."
"What I’ll miss most about him is his smile,” added Woolwine.
“I just want him to be remembered he was really funny and he was big,” said Frank’s brother, Robert Woolwine.
Family said the rising junior could light up a room with his smile and big personality.
“What will you miss most about him?” asked WTVR reporter Laura French.
“Waking me up in the mornings. He had to get up for his football workouts so he decided I had to get up too,” Robert said.
Robert, age 13, especially admired his brother’s athleticism.
“Playing sports with him it really helped me be a better athlete,” said Robert. “I was going to play year round lacrosse this year, but I’ve decided now that I am going to play football for him in honor of him,” he added.
An athletic bond, that started from a young age after losing their mother Paige to cancer in 2007.
“It was brain cancer and Robert was three, Frank was seven,” said Roy. “We’ve been through this unfortunately and you get up every morning and you take a step."
“I can’t tell you how much comfort that brings me that they’re up there hugging right now she’s probably giving him a lecture, but at the end of the day she’s hugging him,” Roy added.
Woolwine says he will take even more comfort if something positive can come from his tragedy.
“I think a lot of these kids I’ve talked to are taking it personally. They see what happened and what can happen and hopefully, they will learn. That would fill my heart with joy if just one kid takes this to heart,” Roy said.
“In a split second your life can change,” he added.
Police said speed was a factor in the wreck, which remains under investigation.
Frank lived with his father, brother, step-mother Emily and four step-siblings.
A public viewing will be held Wednesday at 7pm at Bliley’s 3801 Augusta Avenue, Richmond.3
A celebration of life will follow Thursday at 2pm at HOPE Church 12445 Patterson Ave. Richmond, VA 23238.
If you’d like to honor Frank Woolwine Junior, the family asks for donations to any of the following organizations.