When Antwan Timbers Sr. told his son of the same name he loved him over the weekend, he didn't know those would be the last words he would ever speak to his 17-year-old son.
But, the elder Timbers said Monday, he's glad they were. Antwan Timbers Jr., a sophomore at Burlington City High School with dreams of serving in the military, was run down by a vehicle that jumped the curb as he walked home with a friend along Route 130 just after midnight Sunday. The teen died at the scene, police said.
Timbers' father, sister, mother and more than a dozen other family members gathered, most weeping, during a news conference Monday held by Burlington City Police. The family members held each other tightly as the elder Timbers spoke about his bright son, who had just landed a job at local Curtin's Wharf Marina and would have worked his first shift on Sunday.
"He was excited," the father said. "This is on of the worst things that you never can imagine, losing one of your own. I just think back on the moment and just the last words that I told him was that I love him, and I really appreciate the fact that I was able to say that."
Timbers Jr. was a member of the junior ROTC at Burlington City High School and excelled in school, school officials and his family said. He was one of four siblings in the Timbers family and leaves behind two sisters and a brother, his father said.
James Flynn, principal of Burlington City High School, said Timbers Jr. planned to take the upcoming Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery exam, an aptitude test for the military. His father said two of his cousins serve in the armed forces and that his son dreamed of doing the same.
"Antwan had set many goals for himself for this year and next year," Flynn said. "It is a devastating loss to all our staff and our students a Burlington City High School. Antwan will be greatly missed."
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Police said the driver of the striking vehicle remained at the scene and was taken to a nearby hospital for a blood sample. From there, police said the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office took over the investigation.
The driver, identified as Ricardo Patterson III, 42, of Willingboro, is facing DUI and reckless driving charges, prosecutors said Sunday.
When asked about the investigation into his son's death during a news conference Monday, Timbers Sr. showed no hint of anger.
"I'm just gonna focus on my son and what a great citizen he was to this community," Timbers Sr. said.
"We're definitely gonna miss him," the father said. "This is a tragic accident that should not have happened. All we can do is grieve and go through this process and hope every day gets better."