Tragedy has hit three North Alabama families with a young couple and their friend dying in a crash while on a road trip. The crash happened 800 miles away in Manhattan, Kansas, just west of Topeka.
Joey Tidwell, 21, lived along Lawrence Avenue in Albertville. His family said Joey, his girlfriend, 20-year-old Halie Davis, and their friend, 58-year-old Leroy Myers, were on the way to Colorado when they crashed on Interstate 70. They died Wednesday morning.
"I always wanted to be just like him. He tortured me, but he loved me so much. He always wanted everybody to be happy," said Joey's sister, Ciara Tidwell.
Family and friends say Joey Tidwell loved playing basketball, was considering entering the Navy and always tried to make people laugh.
"Joey was a very selfless person. If you met him, you would have loved him. He lit up a room every time he was around," said a friend, Chelsey Martin.
Troopers told the family Leroy was driving and fell asleep at the wheel. He hit the median, and then vaulted to the other side of the highway.
"Everyone's in shock still. Everyone is having a really hard time, in disbelief," said Tammy Bean, Joey's aunt. "We know Joey was ejected, and everyone was killed in an instant."
Joey and Halie had a two-month-old daughter, and the family says she was their world. They had been saving money to get their first home together as a family.
"He loved his baby," said Tammy Bean.
After such a tragedy, the Tidwell family has one message.
"Tell them you love them when you can, because you never know when the last time you'll see them is," said Ciara Tidwell.
The family says they will raise the baby who lost her parents. A GoFundMe has been set up by friends to help cover funeral costs for Joey and Halie. Joey's funeral is on Monday.