Niles, Mich. Family friends of a 12-year-old crash victim are stepping forward to help his mother pay for his funeral.
The accident happened just after 2 a.m. Tuesday on Bertrand Street, just east of 21st street. That's in Milton Township in Cass County.
Friends and family are calling it a joy ride that ended tragically. Adrian Chiquito was a passenger in the car and died in the crash. The driver was 14-year-old Brandon Burr. They were speeding along Bertrand, lost control and struck a tree.
Chiquito was pronounced dead at the scene. Burr was taken to South Bend Memorial Hospital. Sheriff Joseph Underwood of the Cass County Sheriff’s Department said this morning that Burr is in stable but critical condition.
Both boys lived in Niles and many are left wondering why they would make such a tragic mistake.
“It’s a kid’s life that we’re talking about,” said family friend Tara Austin. “Whatever happened, they are the only ones who know why they took that car out that night, and we can’t sit there and judge the family. All we can do is help.”
Austin is leading a group of Adrian’s friends in raising money for the boy’s funeral. They started by collecting drive-by donations near the Walmart on 11th Street in Niles.
Next they plan on holding a bake sale Saturday at the Niles-Buchanan YMCA from 8-4 p.m. Saturday night they will hold a vigil at 7 p.m. at Brandywine Junior-Senior High School.
“We're trying to raise some money for his funeral so he goes to a better place while he knows that everybody loves him,” said Adrian’s friend, Guinevere Boice.
The visitation for Adrian will be held on Sunday, Jan. 5 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Brown Funeral Home in Niles. Funeral services will be held on Monday, Jan. 6 at 1:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in South Haven.
Donations can also be made to the family via this website: http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/memorial-fund-for-adrian-chiquito/121962