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Mother was among first to see crash that killed teenage sons

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CAROLINE, Va. — Two minutes after their Jeep ran off the road and hit a tree, their mother drove up on the tragic accident scene. Ian Brown, 18, and his younger brother Jalen, 15, were killed while driving to Spotsylvania High School Thursday morning. Their mother Melissa, a teacher, was also headed to school and left home just after her sons. The single-vehicle crash was reported at 7:18 a.m. near the intersection of Ladysmith Road and County Line Church Road, according to Virginia State Police. Investigators cannot yet say for sure what caused the crash.

Ian was a “big-hearted charmer with a sly grin that always made you think he knew something that you did not,” his obituary stated. Jalen “always possessed a wide, toothy grin that gave away his joyous nature. He found a silver lining in every cloud and his love of life was infectious to all who knew him.”

Ian and Jalen Brown

Ian and Jalen Brown

Both children enjoyed sports and their family asked that in lieu of flowers, mourners contribute to the Spotsylvania High School Athletic Department track teams. A memorial service for Ian and Jalen was scheduled Monday night at Spotswood Baptist Church on Lafayette Boulevard in Fredericksburg.

A GoFundMe page set-up to help the Brown family cover the cost of the unexpected funeral swelled to more than $16,000 in just two days.

Friend: Brothers ‘were inseparable’

“I love them two boys, they were my family,” friend Joshua Wales said about Ian and Jalen Brown. “It hurts my heart to see one of my best friends go. I’ll never be able to talk to them. I’ll never be able to see his their faces again.”

The Brown brothers

Wales said 6 he and Ian were childhood friends, describing the 18-year-old as a happy-go-lucky person and a jokester.

“And Jalen was just the same. Him and Ian had the same personalities, and those boys were a trip,” Wales said. “The two were inseparable.”

For Wales, the reality is just beginning to sink.

“I’ve always known Ian to be safe. I’ve know Jalen to be safe. No life is worth risk losing, but it can all change just like that,” he said.