Chase Wiggins was a young father and beloved youth football coach, the pride and joy of his mother, Rosemary Wieske Hopkins. Ricky Robertson was the “human jukebox.”
The three were headed home early Sunday from a birthday party when they died in a traffic accident on Northeast Loop 820.
Family members and dozens of friends and acquaintances were mourning the victims Monday.
Officials with the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office on Monday had not made a positive identification of the victims, who all died at the scene, but family members and friends identified them.
“Chase and Ricky had known each other since they were young kids,” said Jamie Hackney of Fort Worth on Monday in a telephone interview. Robertson was Hackney’s brother-in-law. “They grew up in the Lake Worth area, going to the schools there.”
Hackney said he had worked with Robertson, 24, for years at Cardinal Roofing in Grand Prairie. He said Robertson was an outspoken man and a singer.
“We called him the ‘human jukebox’ because he knew every song,” Hackney said. “He was always singing.”
Robertson was engaged to be married to his girlfriend, who is pregnant, Hackney said.
The wreck was reported at 2:30 a.m. Sunday in the westbound lanes of Northeast Loop 820 near Iron Horse Boulevard.
A 2012 Chevrolet pickup was westbound when it exited the highway at Meadow Lakes Drive, police said. For an unknown reason, the driver failed to stop at a traffic light, hit a guardrail, went over a wall, landed on Northeast Loop 820 and burst into flames, police said.
Police determined one victim was ejected during the crash, and firefighters found two more in the vehicle after flames were extinguished, police said.
Wiggins, 28, was a devoted father and a youth coach in the White Settlement Football Association. He leaves a wife and two young children.
“It is with heavy heart that we need to inform our Cub family of the passing of Coach Wiggins,” according to the Facebook page of the White Settlement Youth Football Association. “Coach Wiggins was involved in a fatal crash along with his mother and a family friend.”
The page also noted, “Coach Wiggins was a great mentor to the kids.”
On Facebook, Hopkins, 49, had praise for Wiggins and his family.
With one photo of Wiggins and his young son, Hopkins wrote, “My very favorite guys. Have my heart n soul.”
A gofundme account for the three victims said: “We all have great memories with these people and now they are gone. It is heart-wrenching that their families and friends must deal with this soon or this close to the holidays.”
Funeral services for the three are pending.