DAPHNE, Ala. (WKRG) — A memorial marks the crash site where 16-year-old Dalton Filippi lost his life Thursday night. One of his passengers, Daphne High School football player Bryson Cleveland, is recovering in a Pensacola hospital.
It was just after 8 p.m. Thursday. “There were blue lights, red lights all over the place and I thought uh-oh this is not good.” Pastor Joe Pileggi was headed home. “I just had a strong sense that I needed to stop, pull over and see if I could do anything.”
Investigators say the 2009 Nissan Xterra left County Road 54 and smashed into a tree near Newport Lane. News of the crash spread fast and it wasn’t long before friends and relatives started arriving at the crash site including Dalton’s parents. “I told them I’m a pastor and both of them fell on my shoulder and just cried and cried and cried.” Pileggi did the only thing anyone could. “I just prayed with them and I ask God to comfort them.”
That old pecan tree is now a memorial drawing visitors like Sharon Skoglund who brought two of her young sons. “We wanted to come put some flowers out and said a couple prayers for the families of the one that passed and the one in the hospital.”
The pastor returned too, “I cried all the way home.” He’s still hoping to do something, anything for the family who has lost so much. “I’ve been praying for them. I woke up and it was the first thing on my mind this morning.” Before he left, he taped his name and number to the tree just in case the family needed to get in touch.
Bryson Cleveland is expected to be OK and released from the hospital soon. Investigators say a third teenager in the car was not hurt.
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