Hundreds light candles for 2 brothers killed in wreck

  • Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 12:24 a.m., Updated: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 7:56 a.m.
Hundreds of people, mostly students, gathered at Hanahan High School on Tuesday night to remember two brothers who died in a car wreck Sunday morning. Matt Richardson, 19, graduated from the school last year, and Kelvin Richardson, 17, was a junior. Buy this photo

HANAHAN — Hundreds of students, many weeping, held up candles on a school track field Tuesday night to remember two Berkeley County teenagers killed in a wreck Sunday morning.

Matt Richardson, 19, and Kelvin Richardson, 17, died when their Jeep went off a road and hit a tree. Family members said they were on their way to church.

About 500 people, mostly students, turned out for the candlelight vigil. Most of the attention was on Kelvin, a junior at Hanahan High School. Matt graduated last year.

Track coaches David Morbitzer and Josh Harpe recalled Kelvin as a little guy who insisted on tackling the 400-meter hurdles, one of the toughest challenges in track. He fell during one race, and passed out during another. But he never gave up, a testament to his character, they said.

Both coaches fought back tears as they spoke. Students wept, briefly reminded of their own mortality.

Morbitzer read several Bible verses, and both coaches told the students the brothers were in heaven.

A fellow student recalled Kelvin’s infectious smile and determination to make people laugh. She also had to pause several times to keep from crying.

The brothers were also popular musicians. Matt played keyboards and guitar, and Kelvin drums.

A family member said the brothers played during a church service the Wednesday before they were killed, and they kept it up after the service.

“They loved the Lord with all their heart,” he said.

Track coach David Pratt spoke about the tragedy earlier Tuesday after an unrelated press conference at Goose Creek High School. He said the track team was in mourning.

“Usually kids are pretty wound up at this time of the year,” Pratt said. “But they are very quiet and visibly shaken. These athletes are shaken and will have to rally around the family and each other. We must make the best of a bad situation.”

Pratt worked with both brothers. “Matt was an undersized football player with a big heart who worked extremely hard,” Pratt said. “Kelvin didn’t look like a hurdler, but worked hard. He ran the 400 hurdles and had the potential to reach the state meet.”

It might be weeks before investigators find out what caused the wreck. The Highway Patrol is checking out all possibilities and declined to speculate at this point, Cpl. Bob Beres said Tuesday.

A memorial service is set for 11 a.m. Saturday in the school gymnasium.

A trust account has been setup for the Richardson Family. Donations will be accepted at any SunTrust Bank branch throughout the lowcountry.

Phil Bowman contributed to this story.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553 or twitter.com/ dmunday.

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