OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. -- A grieving family shared more about the life of their 34-year-old son, after a tragic accident killed he and another driver when police say the other car ran a flashing red light.
"I wish it didn’t happen at all," said Allison DeVriendt, the mother of Alex DeVriendt, 34. "I wish those young boys would have thought to slow down, and not blow a stop sign."
34-year-old Alex DeVriendt's parents Allison and Tim sat in their living room sharing memories of their son's life, including the details that went into his senior photos years ago.
"He had to have the Harley and the dog," said Tim DeVriendt with a smile, pointing to his son's senior high school photos.
From his senior pictures to the man he became at 34, The DeVriendts say their son was surrounded by love, worked hard and never sat still.
"He was fun loving," said his mother.
"He had a lot of energy. He was an arguer from the womb," she laughed. "We always teased him, ‘You should have been a lawyer because you’re very good at arguing about nothing.'"
Alex was a loving father and fiancé.
"And a devoted father," added his dad. "He has a four-year-old son, and our grandson of course. It was a blessing to watch him grow with that relationship."
"And he had a wonderful fiancé, her name is Samantha, we call her Sam, can’t call her Samantha," said Allison.
Alex told his parents he loved his work with Plascore as a clean line operator the last two years. Then tragedy struck on his way home after a 12-hour shift just before 3 a.m. on Thursday.
"He’s always on the same route, Riley west to 132nd, take a left, and then he’s very close to home," said Tim. "And he made it to Riley and 112th."
Police say another car with four people sped north on 112th and blew a blinking red light, crashing into Alex’s westbound car on Riley, which had the right of way. Alex and the other driver, 23-year-old Ector Juarez, were killed.
The three passengers in Juarez's car were also taken to hospitals in serious to critical condition. The crash remains under investigation.
"I just wish that they’d realize that there’s always somebody on the other side that’s not expecting them to be there," said Allison DeVriendt.
"As much as you tell your kids to drive defensively, when you’re going home from work, and you’re just passing a street, it’s a routine and you don’t think that there’s another car coming. And I guess slow at the yellow, slow go there. That’s all I can say ‘cause no one deserves this, what we're going through."
Now they are surrounded by their faith, grateful for their loved ones and community, holding their memories of their son Alex close.
"Every time his dad watches football, they would get on the phone, and they would just go back and forth, and it was back and forth, and we’re not going to have that," she said.
"It’s just amazing: their condolences and thank you, ‘cause we need, we covet prayers and stories of Alex."