The family of newlyweds Will and Jamie Reid just celebrated the couple's wedding three months ago. On Saturday they gathered to mourn the loss of the couple, killed in a weekend car crash in Asheville, N.C.
"The whole life history of your child runs past you in a very brief period of time. It's a terrible thing," said Anne Reid, Will's mother.
Will and Jamie Reid were visiting Asheville to celebrate a friend's wedding last weekend. The couple was riding in the back of a Lincoln Town Car, on the way to the Asheville Regional Airport early Sunday afternoon, when the limousine driver went down an embankment and hit a large tree.
Will's family describes the moment they were told about the crash. "We were all in the same room at the same time. Thank God we had each other. That's what you do. You fall together and we stayed physically attached to each other for the rest of the night," said Reid.
PHOTO COURTESY: Asheville Citizen-Times/CITIZEN-TIMES.COM
Jamie's parents, Ron and Kay Soukup, say they found out about the crash when a police officer and fire department chaplain showed up at their home in Sammamish, Washington.
"Kay and I were simply numb," said Soukup, who says he thought it was odd when he didn't hear from Jamie because she would always text them when she landed.
Besides losing the couple, the Reid and Soukup family also lost a grandchild. Jamie was pregnant when she was killed on impact. Will died a short time later at Mission Hospital.
The Soukup's say they were thrilled when they found out Jamie was pregnant earlier this Summer and were making plans to stay in Philadelphia for a few months after the baby was born.
Both Will, 26, and Jamie, 25, were teachers in Philadelphia. Jamie worked at Harrity Elementary, a Mastery Charter School. She started working in Philadelphia through the Teach for America program and wanted to make a difference in a tough urban area.
"I think she thought she could enrich their lives, not just academically but outside of academics," said Soukup.
Some of her former students have been writing to NBC10, describing her as "one of the best teachers they ever had," who was always there to give advice or help with anything they needed.
"She was the light of our life," said Soukup. "We were just so proud of her."
Will taught math at People for People Charter School. "They were really just perfect for each other. They really were at the top of their game. They were cut short in their efforts but they really were in a great place," said James Reid, Will's father.
Rodney Koon, the limousine driver who was driving the couple to the airport, survived the crash. He's being treated at Mission Hospital for his injuries.
Asheville Police issued warrants to search the Lincoln Town Car and according to Asheville's Citizen Times, a digital recording device from the car was seized that could shed more light on what caused the crash and if Koon will be charged.
"He would so disappointed if I stopped my life because of something like this. As would Jamie. He'd probably beat me up for crying too much. I just have to keep thinking about the Will that I knew," said Leslie Reid, Will's younger sister.
A memorial service for the couple was held at noon today at the Doyle-Devlin Funeral Home in Phillipsburg, N.J.
The families are honoring the couple by helping future students through two scholarship funds: William and Jamie Reid Scholarship Fund for the Valedictorian, c/o Phillipsburg High School, 200 Hillcrest Boulevard, Phillipsburg, NJ 08865
Contributions can also be made to the Jamie Soukup Reid Memorial Scholarship fund, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA 99362.
Contact Lauren DiSanto at 610.668.5705, firstname.lastname@example.org