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Louisa student killed in crash had ‘huge heart’

LOUISA COUNTY, Va. -- Students and staff at Louisa High School are mourning the sudden loss of Jaden Cortez Athey.

Athey was killed Monday night in a crash on Mountain Road in Montpelier. The 16-year-old crashed after leaving his job at Subway, according to classmate and Subway co-worker Chris Butler

Athey played football and ran track at school, according to friends who described the teenager as a great person with a huge heart.

Jaden Cortez Athey

Jaden Cortez Athey

Butler, who has known Athey since the 5th grade, said the teen was like a brother to him.

"I just felt really bad," said Butler. "He's just a really nice dude.  He has a nice sense of humor and always has a smile on his face and always taking care of others."

Butler says they both left Subway shop around the same time Monday night

"He proceeded to follow behind us. And he passed on the dotted line. Then, we didn't see him from there," said Butler.

Butler, who also lives in the same subdivision as Athey, said he thought it was odd that he arrived home before his close friend.

"I felt something like… bad had happened to him because he should've been home a few minutes before we arrived home.  But I didn't see him in his driveway," said Butler.

Jaden Cortez Athey

Jaden Cortez Athey

The Hanover Sheriff's office says the 16-year-old was driving westbound on Mountain Road, when he ran off the right shoulder and struck a tree.

Athey died at the scene.

"Investigators are still collecting information and consulting with the Medical Examiner to determine the circumstances that led to this tragic incident," Hanover Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt James Cooper said.

Butler says his fellow classmates are taking the loss very hard.

“They're pretty devastated about it.  It's a hard time for us to go through as Lions," he said.

Despite the pain, Butler says they'll cherish Athey's memory and are praying for the family.