‘He was the most loving person:’ Family mourns Climax crash victim

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CLIMAX, Mich. — Those who knew him best describe his as someone who 'didn't have a bad bone in his body.'

Paige Fitzsimmons couldn't fight back her tears Saturday while talking about her little brother, 22-year-old William 'Billy' Fitzsimmons, who was killed Friday afternoon in a car crash.

"He was a very heartwarming person," she said. "He was the best guy on this planet, would do anything for anybody, give somebody the shirt off his back."

Fitzsimmons was driving northbound on 42nd St. in Wakeshma Township Friday afternoon when he veered off the road, causing his SUV to roll several times before crashing into a tree. Police said he didn't appear to be wearing a seatbelt.

Family and friends say the 22 year old was driving home from his job at Summit Polymers in nearby Vicksburg when the accident happened. Fitzsimmons would usually get out of work around 3 p.m.

Police have yet to confirm what caused the crash but Fitzsimmons' sister believes he might've fallen asleep behind the wheel.

"He was the most loving person, and he didn't mean for this to happen, I know he didn't," she said.

Saturday evening, a small crowd gathered around a makeshift memorial in the spot where Fitzsimmons was killed in the 11000 block of 42nd Street.

Michael Massey, Fitzsimmons' best friend since elementary school, said he was still trying to cope with the shock Saturday.

"It just doesn't make sense to me," Massey said. "I just can't figure it out, it does bother me to not know why (he veered off the road)."

Massey described his best friend as a star both on and off the field and court. Fitzsimmons, a 2010 graduate of Climax-Scotts High School, played both football and basketball. More recently he coached 5th and 5th graders in football too.

His impact stretched well beyond the small town of Climax, according to Massey.

"Put Climax in the middle and put a circle around Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, that's how far people knew him," he said.

Fitzsimmons' death comes less than a week after his family experienced the loss of their grandmother. Paige Fitzsimmons said the family has yet to bury her and had only recently managed to raise the necessary funds for her funeral. She says she's worried the family won't have enough money to pay for her brother's upcoming funeral as well.

"My family is having a very hard time, we have to bury my grandma on Monday still and we just raised the money for that so this is going to be tough to raise the money to bury my little brother," she said.

Several family friends have organized a candlelight vigil for Fitzsimmons at the Climax-Scotts High School football field for Sunday at 7:30 p.m. for individuals to share memories and to help raise funds for his funeral.

The family has set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for funeral expenses.

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