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SHELBY COUNTY, Ind. — The Shelby County community is grieving after a Triton Central High School student was killed in a car crash this past weekend.

Around 8:30 Saturday morning, in the 5800 block of London Road,16-year-old Nick Winter and a friend were on their way to pick up donuts for breakfast.

For some reason, the car left the road and slammed into a tree. Nick was pronounced dead at the scene, and the friend was rushed to Methodist Hospital with serious injuries.

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“I’m pretty sure a piece of my soul left with him,” said Nick’s mother, Chrissy Gregory.

In this small community, word travels fast. Nick’s girlfriend, Izzy Napier, had started to hear the rumors about the crash and then got a call from one of Nick’s siblings.

“I said, ‘I’ve heard so many things. Is Nicholas okay? Please tell me he’s okay,'” Napier recalled. “She said ‘No honey, he’s not.'”

A growing memorial now sits at the tree where Nick lost his life. It is filled with flowers and other mementos people have dropped off.

Witnessing the outpouring of love and support is what Nick’s mother said has kept her going.

“He was the happiest kid on earth, like the nicest. Genuinely caring,” Gregory said. “The whole kill them with kindness was his life motto.”

Following Nick’s death, his friends and family released lanterns in his memory. Both his mom and girlfriend said it was therapeutic to see how loved he was.

“I didn’t know the true meaning of love before I met Nick, and I feel like I do now,” Napier said. “All he had inside of him was love, and that’s all I have for him.”

While the sheriff’s office hasn’t released the cause of the crash, Nick’s mother said she wants the tragedy to be a warning to others. She hopes that nobody else has to experience the nightmare she’s living right now.

“You don’t want to do this to your mother or your father, grandmother, siblings,” Gregory said. “If you think that life is short, you have no idea.”

Nick was supposed to turn 17 next Wednesday. His mother said his friends will be holding a celebration to remember his life that was cut so tragically short.

Triton Central High School is offering counseling throughout the rest of this week. The other teenager who survived the crash is out of the hospital and still recovering from his injuries, according to his mother.