WEEKI WACHEE — Seth Leathers and a friend were on the way to pick up Leathers’ brother for their shift at Taco Bell, when he was killed April 18 in a car crash on U.S. 19 in Spring Hill, his brother said.
Seth Leathers, 16, was the passenger in a car driven by his friend Garret Herman, 17, when a pickup hit the car. The crash killed Leathers and left Herman in critical condition. Herman was still hospitalized Tuesday afternoon, said Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Steve Gaskins.
Kaleb Leathers, also friends with Herman, said he was the first in his family to find out about the crash. Another friend drove past it and said it looked like Herman’s car.
"I didn’t know how to take it," Kaleb Leathers said. "I just ran to the car, thinking about everything."
Kaleb Leathers said his brother was a Los Angeles Lakers fan, and especially liked Kobe Bryant.
"Seth was the funniest person I ever met," said his brother Cain Buchmeier, 26.
His brother had a unique ability to get along with children and the elderly and "make them feel like they’re special," he said.
"He always had a smile on his face," said family friend Laurie Pike. Seth Leathers was a Weeki Wachee High School junior she had known since he moved into her neighborhood about nine or 10 years ago, she said.
He wanted to play sports, graduate from high school, get a job and buy a nice car, and make everyone happy, Pike said.
Weeki Wachee High health and physical education teacher Shane Tarbox had Leathers in class two years ago.
He remembered the student as easygoing, "always smiling and laughing."
Grief counselors were at the school the day after the crash, according to Hernando County School District spokesperson Karen Jordan. .
Community members set up a fundraising page to help offset funeral costs. As of Tuesday afternoon, it had raised $6,884 more than its $5,000 goal.
Contact Rachel Frazin at [email protected] Follow @RachelFrazin