HALIFAX COUNTY (WSLS 10) - "I thought this only happens to people in movies or something. It didn't seem even remotely possible," said Carrie Suttle, Julian Suttle's sister, recalling what went through her mind when she learned her brother had been in a car crash.
Nine-year-old Julian Suttle passed away at Duke Children's Hospital in North Carolina this week, where he was flown Saturday afternoon after the van he was riding in with his father's fiance, Melissa Rhodes, ran off the road and crashed at the intersection of Thompson Store Rd. and Highway 360.
"When I first heard, I was just praying and praying," Julian's father, Chad Suttle, said.
Rhodes was initially charged with driving under the influence, but is now also charged with felony child neglect.
"It's been really shocking having to know that we're going to go home without him," Carrie said.
But, they will go home with their memories of Julian.
"He's so smart and he's very logical. You can ask him a question and he doesn't hold back anything," Carrie explained. "He uses big words," Chad interjected.
"I've never met anyone who's more themselves," Carrie continued.
A Facebook group called "Justice For Julian" has been created.
Family, friends, and even monks from halfway around the world have used the group to express their support.
"We actually had actual monks from Italy praying for him," said Chad.
The family has chosen to donate Julian's organs so that Julian's life can help bring life to others and hopefully help spread a powerful message.
"Everyone you know is a gift to you and I think you should appreciate every moment that you have with them," Carrie emphasized.
A wreath with a black ribbon now hangs on the telephone pole at the intersection as a small reminder of the young boy, whose life his family is carrying on in a big way.
Julian's father has also set up a GoFundMe account to help the family pay for Julian's medical and funeral expenses.