CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Several hundred friends, family members and well-wishers gathered at Riverside High School Monday night for a candlelight vigil to honor the life of Colin Qualls.
Qualls, 16, of Glasgow, was killed late Friday night when the car he was riding in swerved off the road along Hughes Creek Road in Kanawha County. Four other teenagers were hospitalized for minor injuries.
State Police believe alcohol was involved. The driver, identified as Dustin Burkhardt, 18, of London, could face charges of DUI resulting in death and DUI resulting in injury, authorities have said.
The assembled mourners were dressed in the school's colors of purple, black and silver and clutched candles in their hands.
After signing their names to a memorial banner, the attendees filed out onto the school's football field to share a few moments of remembrance.
Those who knew Qualls, who would have been a junior this school year, remembered him as a kind, caring young man who could make everyone around him laugh.
"He was a happy-go-lucky kid," said Valerie Harper, Riverside High School principal. "He always had a big smile on his face."
Harper said the memorial service was indicative of the school's familial spirit.
"The community is really a close-knit group and everybody knows everybody," she said. "When something bad happens, everybody in the community pulls together. This is a bad day for us."
Jannette Carper, of Columbus, Ohio, was Qualls' cousin. She said she could remember him as a child who loved his siblings and relatives.
Carper said her cousin loved to cook and was always the first one in the kitchen if anyone in the family mentioned they were hungry.