Hundreds gather to honor Decatur student killed in I-5 crash

A memorial for Nicholas Hodgins was held June 19 at Decatur High School. - Courtesy photo
A memorial for Nicholas Hodgins was held June 19 at Decatur High School.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

It was standing room only Saturday at the Decatur High School auditorium as hundreds gathered to say goodbye to Nicholas Hodgins.

The 18-year-old died three days before graduation, along with his friend Derek King, as a result of injuries from a June 9 crash on Interstate 5. Their friend Anthony Beaver survived.

The stage at Decatur was filled with items Hodgins loved, including his guitar, and music was a main feature of the service.

A photo slideshow showed a young man loved his girlfriend, cooking and his friends.

There were also some of Hodgins' senior pictures in the mix, many of which could have been photos from a CD cover.

"If anyone had a natural band pose," Pastor Ron Sanchez said, "it was this guy."

Sanchez spoke of how the family planned to remember Hodgins, as a kind boy who always put a smile on people's faces and befriended the underdog. Of a young man who once wrote a deep and fully developed story — on the inside of the tongue of his Converse shoes. Of a fun loving guy who would do the robot dance past the doorways at school.

He was brilliant at math, but never seemed to care about turning in homework, and as a result spent many hours in detention. Many times he spent detention talking with the vice principal about music.

And he was a friend in the truest sense of the word.

"He was my first actual best friend," Beaver said. "I didn't know somebody could be there like that. He taught me not to ever care what people think about you...He's in a better place. Treat every day like it could be your last. You never know when they could be gone."

Learn more

Click here to learn more about the June 9 collision as well as Washington state laws pertaining to drinking and driving.

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