An East Texas family cautioned drivers to buckle up after 19-year-old Nathan Sherman died in a Flint crash last weekend.
His family said he was going over a hill talking to his girlfriend, Brittany Fowler, who was his passenger when they swerved to avoid a car stopped in the road.
She was wearing a seatbelt and survived the crash, but Sherman was ejected and died at the scene.
Fowler said their truck flipped and rolled down the embankment, and before she knew it they were in the ditch.
"His face…he was just lying there,” she said tearfully. “I tugged on him and pushed on his stomach hoping he was still alive but he wasn't. I already knew he wasn't."
His parents, James and Rachelle Sherman, say their hearts still ache from losing their son.
"We have a loss in our family that can never be replaced,” his father said. “We're wounded.”
His brother Matthew Sherman was overseas serving in the army when he got the news.
"I instantly dropped to my knees,” he said. “I was speechless, couldn't breathe. We had been through everything together from day one until I joined the army, I hadn't been a week without him."
One of his best friends, Michael Manziel, said everyone loved Nathan because of his outgoing and infectiously happy personality.
"He's more than just a best friend,” Manziel said “He's like a brother to me."
According to the CDC, seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45% and cut the risk of serious injury by 50%.
"Wear your seatbelt,” she said. “It's just that one little instant and something can happen – you’re gone.”
His funeral will be at West Lake Baptist Church 1 p.m. Monday 19.
Friends of the Shermans have set up GoFundMe accounts and fundraisers for Nathan’s funeral expenses.
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