Oak Park community remembers teens killed in car crash

Posted at 10:18 PM, Sep 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-21 20:00:52-04

OAK PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) — As balloons filled the sky above Oak Park High School, an entire community grieved the loss of two teens.

“He was a wonderful kid," said James Hardy, who's grandson Jaqai Garrett was killed in the crash. "Sixteen is just too young to be burying.”

“It's just an empty space right now with him not being here, because that was my everything,” added his mother, Nakeia Garrett.

Garrett remembers her son as friendly, funny and a talented musician. He, along with 17-year-old Derrell Blackmon, lost their lives after a single-vehicle crash Friday night on Telegraph near 10 Mile.

“Seventeen years I had him in my life, and it was the best 17 years of my life," said Derrell's father, Dewan Blackmon. "I couldn't have asked for a better son than him.”

Police say the teen's SUV was speeding, left the roadway and stuck a tree. Two of the teens escaped with minor injuries, but two more, including 17-year-old Alonte Mosley, remain in critical condition. According to his family, Mosley is in critical but stable condition.

“All the kids were beautiful kids who are struggling right now to survive," Garrett said. "I just hope they pull through.”

Their families were comforted by the community outside Oak Park High School during a vigil, put together by other teens.

“He was close to everyone and we just wanted to do something special for him,” said friend Christopher McClendon.

Since Friday, these families have been surrounded by tragedy. Sunday, they were reminded they are also surrounded by love.

“Everybody loved him, and that's what counts," Blackmon said of his son. "He was loved by many.”

“I just didn't realize how much he was loved," Garrett said. "He just had a lot of friends and a lot of people who cared about him.”

A GoFundMe page has been created to help the family of Jaqai Garrett here.