Family, friends mourn death of 14-year-old boy hit by car

Elija Coggins attended Legacy High School. (FOX5)

A Valley high school student is recovering at home after being hit by a car Tuesday afternoon, while his best friend’s family plans a funeral.

The 14-year-old boys were walking home from Legacy High School when a driver hit them from behind. One of the two teenagers, Elijah Coggins, didn’t survive.

On Wednesday, family members of both Coggins and his best friend Trevor Dodd returned to the accident scene.

Dodd’s mother, Cherelle Coggins, said Elijah’s sister saw the boys walking home Tuesday afternoon and stopped to ask if they wanted a ride home. The boys declined the ride saying they’d rather walk because they loved the rain.

Parents of other kids from Legacy High School, like Markisha Beacham, said it’s common to see kids walking home.

“Not only the teenagers are walking home,” said Beacham. “But we have little children in elementary [school] walking home.”

Tuesday the Valley received record rainfall and fog filled the sky, but it was the type of weather Trevor and Dodd loved.

Trevor’s mom said they loved rain so much, the teens were snap chatting, pretending they were in a tropical place and laughing, right up until a car hit them from behind.

“So sad,” said Beacham. “Anything can happen at the split of a second.”

According to Coggins, the impact sent Trevor flying through the air, he hit the ground, got up and ran to Elijah who wasn’t responding. She said Trevor screamed for help until police arrived, but Elijah didn’t make it.

Back at school friends like Jozie Harpin are reflecting on memories with Elijah.

“His personality was great,” Harpin said. “He was very energetic and it’s just crazy because we know his sister, and his family and it’s just...he didn’t deserve that, he was a good soul.”

Other students say they're scared to walk home.

“I had walked over there earlier,” said Princess Davis, a senior at Legacy High School. “I was just like ‘oh my God’ because I walk near the street all the time so that’s scary for me, it’s heartbreaking especially knowing that he didn’t make it to my grade yet.”

Parents are heartbroken.

“Life is short,” Beacham said. “Appreciate it with every step that you take.”

Trevor was rushed to the hospital Tuesday afternoon with injuries but has been released. His mom said she isn’t sure if she wants him to return to Legacy High School because he and Elijah had three classes together and Trevor told her he would be lonely without his best friend.

The school provided grief counselors to help students who may be affected by Elijah’s death.

Elijah’s family has not finalized any memorial plans, but family members want to honor him in some way in the spot he was killed.

It is not clear if there was any speeding involved in the crash or if the weather was a factor.

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