Family gathers to remember man killed in creek weeks before 21st birthday

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CRITTENDEN COUNTY, Ark. — Several dozen of Dequan Crawford's family members and friends gathered Friday evening at the Big Creek bridge near Turrell where the 20-year-old's car slid into the creek a day earlier, and where his body was recovered Friday morning.

They lit candles, gathered in prayer and sent balloons into the sunset as they remembered Crawford's life.

Crawford was driving home to Turrell from his job in Memphis around 3:30 a.m. Thursday when his car left I-55 and went into the creek.

"I actually hasn’t been sleeping," said Crawford's godmother Shelia Williams, who drove from Jonesboro to stand with Crawford's family at the bridge.

A crash summary report WREG obtained from Arkansas State Police describes the road as "wet" the morning Crawford was killed. Chief Todd Grooms with the Crittenden County Sheriff’s Office said he believes weather played a “major role” in the crash.

He estimates Crawford’s body was recovered about 250 feet from where his car was found, and said the strong current and murky water made recovery efforts difficult.

"He’s gone right now, but once it sinks in, it’s just — I know it’s just gonna break down," said Crawford's cousin Antonio Brown.

But Williams said Crawford would be happy to see all of the people who came out Friday night to remember him.

"The first thing he’ll say, ‘I brought the hood out! I brought the hood out,'" Williams said.

Family said Crawford was a man who liked to laugh.

"He was looking forward just to dance, live life," said good friend Xavier Allen.

Crawford was just weeks away from celebrating his birthday, which Brown said would have fallen on March 28.

"We was gonna do something for him," Brown said.

Allen said she still plans to do something on that day.

"We gonna turn up for him. We gonna do that. We gonna make sure his name is remembered around here," she said.

Arkansas State Police continue to investigate the crash and have not yet released an official cause of death.