MOORE, Okla. (KFOR) – During a somber gathering, Moore High School students and family members paused to remember the remarkable life of a teen taken far too soon.
“We were like three peas in a pod. The three musketeers,” said David Neece, one of Gabe’s best friends. “It’s just such a tragedy that he’s gone.”
Family, friends and the Moore community released balloons at Buck Thomas Park in Moore to remember Gabe.
“He was just like, such a beautiful soul,” said Bryana Gamble, Gabe’s girlfriend. “Something beautiful for a beautiful person.”
Around 3 a.m. Monday morning, 18-year-old Gabriel Williams was driving along I-35 near Goldsby after winning a baseball tournament in Florida, when he veered off the road. The van rolled three times before landing upside down.
Several other teens inside the van were hurt, while Gabe died on scene.
“It’s still so vivid in my memory,” said Neece. “I can still see the van rolling, and I can still see all the kids on the ground, and them trying to revive Gabriel and going away in the ambulance.”
Neece said he was sitting in the passenger seat while Gabe was behind the wheel. He believes Gabe may’ve hit a patch of ice.
“I got the call that night that said that one of the kids didn’t make it,” said Albert Neece, David’s father. “Drove down there. I never expected to see what I saw.”
David, 17, walked away with a hurt ankle and foot. Three other boys were also taken to the hospital, two are now in critical condition.
“The other boy’s got a broken leg and a dislocated hip,” said Neece.
“I had just talked to him about 30 minutes before the accident. I’m pretty sure I was the last person that he talked to,” Gamble told KFOR while wearing a necklace from Gabe around her neck.
Neece said Gabe was like his third son.
“He an my other two boys always played ball together since they were five years old,” said Neece.
“He’s been with me through everything. I’ve seen him probably every day this year,” said David. “He’s basically part of the family.”
Gabe’s reach was far and wide. Dozens of people arrived at the vigil for him Wednesday night to light candles, hold each other and write notes to the loved one they lost.
“It’s just such a hard thing to cope with, you know? It’s not easy when you lose one of your own,” David said.
“So, it’s hard to like not be able to talk to him,” said Gamble. “Now, it’s like you miss him and you can’t do anything about it.”
Friends and family have also set up a GoFundMe page for Gabriel to help with funeral expenses.