Family copes after losing father in weekend car accident - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Family copes after losing father in weekend car accident

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX)- Willie Lawrence was riding with his friend Saturday night when their car was hit from behind and pushed into oncoming traffic.

When Monica Smith spoke to her father on Friday afternoon, she had no idea it would be for the last time.

 "I just knew I was going to see him as an old man with his same demeanor saying that he was going to be the basketball star I just thought he would live forever," Smith said.   

Fifty-five-year old Willie Lawrence was killed Saturday night in a five car accident at the intersection of Buena Vista and Floyd Road.  Monica, the oldest of Lawrence's seven children, told News Leader 9 that her father left a legacy with each of his children that will never be forgotten.

"His smile, his funny way, his comical, you know statements when he talks," Smith said.  

 Known to many as Buck, Lawrence was known to be the life of any party, while also showing his children the value of hard work.

 His life was ended abruptly Saturday after a tragic accident. Police say 20-year-old Fort Benning soldier Jacob Keller was driving a 2006 Ford Explorer, swerving in and out of traffic.

Investigators say his SUV struck the bumper of an Oldsmobile Cutlass, waiting to make a left turn.  Lawrence was riding in the passenger seat of that Cutlass which was knocked into oncoming traffic and hit by a Toyota Tundra.

Keller was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and vehicular homicide.

Lawrence, who reports say was not wearing a seat belt, was partially ejected from the car and killed.

Though her father is gone Monica Smith holds her head high reflecting on good memories

 "He would want us to have a good time, in his honor," Smith said. 

Funeral services will be held at Hill Watson People Funeral Home in Columbus.  No word yet on what day it will be held.

Keller is scheduled to appear in recorders court Tuesday morning.

Copyright 2012 WXTX. All rights reserved.

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