Two dead in wreck in McMinn County
ATHENS, McMINN COUNTY (WRCB) - Sitting on the front of her mother's house, Nina Martin talks about her younger brother, Matthew.
"He loved his friends and family. He was the kind of person that never took and always wanted to give back," she said.
The 18-year-old and his friend, 20-year-old Alex Wattenbarger, were killed in a wreck off County Highway 130 in McMinn County Saturday.
Police say both men died at the scene.
"He (Matthew) was a real friend. He was like a father figure. He showed me what to do and what not to do," said friend Tyler English.
"They touched us all and made us better. It is hard to believe they are gone," Brandon Jenkins said.
Police say Alex was driving too fast. He sped out of control on a curve, spun around and hit a tree in the ditch.
Tuesday, a makeshift memorial stood where the two men died.
Kayla Lankey said Matt and Alex brought her family closer together.
"Matt and Alex made our house a home, but now it is quiet. But we still feel them there," she added.
Matt's girlfriend said he was an aspiring writer and the strong one in the family. She said he always tried to make the best of every situation. It's a strength now carried, in memory.
"He gave me strength when I was weak and accepted me for who I was," Tammi English-Lankey said.
Matthew Martin's funeral service will be held Wednesday at Laycock-Hobbs Funeral Home on 521 N Jackson Street in Athens at 5:00 p.m.
Friends plan to hold a memorial for both young men next month at the site of the crash.