Tucker Welling made many friends in his life, which was cut short at 18 when his new car struck a tree on Wild Horse Valley Road in Napa County early on Jan. 13.
Three passengers, aged 17 to 21, were injured in the flaming crash on a stretch of roadway notorious for a nearby "dip" that can send a speeding vehicle airborne.
"Hey this is Ryan Robles the front passenger it was the dumbest thing ever we just were going too fast and lost control there was no drugs or anything like that involved," posted Ryan Robles on Napa Valley Patch the next day.
"The only thing that was an issue was speed and you know what, it sucks when your best friend dies in your arms," Robles added.
Patch's report of the fatal crash brought an outpouring of responses from friends and admirers of the teenager who just a day before had led a patriotic ceremony at a local lodge, as Ron Werle posted a few hours after the news broke:
"This is so sad. I have known Tucker for quite a while. He was the De Molay Master Councilor, a member of Napa Valley Masonic Lodge No. 93 where he presented the flag of our country and gave a tribute to the flag yesterday. He had just bought his first car, the one he died in, two days ago."
Ric Marques posted Sunday night, "My fiancee and I were at the ceremony yesterday and spoke with Tucker about his new car. He was so proud of his recent accomplishments - a new job and his new car. He was so positive about life, and had a bright future waiting for him. This outstanding young man will be missed by all those who knew him. My thoughts go out to his family, and to the families of those injured in the accident."
Hunter Mccard said Welling was "probably the nicest person you would ever meet and he would do whatever he could to help anyone who needed the help."
A family friend, Caitlin Phillips, is asking others to do what they can to help with Welling's funeral expenses, posting:
"Clicking this link will take you to a page set up for donations to Tucker's family to help with funeral costs and expenses. Anything would be greatly appreciated. My family and Tucker's were extremely close, I've known him since I was in diapers. I love him with all of my heart and I miss him every single minute. I want to do whatever I can do help his family."
Welling's visitation is scheduled for Sunday afternoon and evening at Colonial Chapels, Vallejo, according to his obituary on legacy.com.
His funeral is Monday at 2 p.m. at Open Door Christian Church in American Canyon: 3353 Broadway at Highway 29, (707) 648-8888.
Kallie Bozarth remembered Welling as "probably the sweetest guy I ever knew," she posted.
"You used to tell me about how much you loved your girlfriend and you wanted to marry her. You took German with Matthew and taught me how to count to 100 in German when I found out we were coming here. You even talked to me about wanting to join the military at one point... I wouldn't even have passed math without you. RIP Tucker Welling, Du warst ein guter Freund und wird immer übersehen werden," Bozarth posted.
Her husband Matthew Bozarth agreed, posting: "Tucker was a good man, I had German with him for three years. This is sad because I got to know him so well, and he was a great friend with my wife. You will be missed Tucker."
In another post, Deryck Wermig called Welling "One of the nicest kids I've ever met. There was just something very special about him. I will miss him."
Jim Stevenson posted, "Tucker was my daughter Cheyenne`s classmate. I met Tucker when I chaperoned their class to outdoor ed. He and Cheyenne also had math and German together. Since I met him I made it a point to talk to him when I saw him either at school or on the streets in the Canyon. He was a good guy. My condolences to all affected by this tragedy."
"Tucker was one of the most kind and caring kids," posted Crystal Reiswig. "He will be missed greatly."
Terry & Joseph Briggs wrote, "Tucker was an awesome young man. Always happy, smiling and huggable."
Ronald L. Rolls called him "a unique and sweet person. Our prayers to his girlfriend, family and many friends."
On behalf of her family, Stacey Alas wrote "We are very proud to have known Tucker. Our deepest sympathy to his family... he will be truly missed. Great guy and we will miss teasing him about cutting his hair!"
"I tear up each time I have thoughts of Tucker," posted Ray Thornell.
Earlier on Patch:
- Victim of Fatal Crash Identified as American Canyon Teen
- CHP Identifies Survivors in Fatal Napa County Crash