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Northwestern student, 16, dies in Rock Hill crash

Jonathan McFadden and Rachel Southmayd
jmcfadden@heraldonline.com, rsouthmayd@heraldonline.com
Frankie Adams
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Frankie Adams

ROCK HILL His friends called him “Frankie.” His family called him “Lane.”

On Friday, both groups gathered on the front lawn of his house. They hugged. They cried. They stood in disbelief.

Frankie Lane Adams, 16, was gone.

Late Thursday night, on his way home from his part-time job, Adams died after police say he lost control of his car in the 1800 block of Heckle Boulevard, just north of Herlong Avenue. He was four miles from his home on Gladstone Court near Confederate Park.

His 1999 Acura RL veered off the right side of the road before it struck a light pole and two trees, according to a Rock Hill police report. Police have determined excessive speed was the primary factor in the crash.

Adams was a sophomore at Northwestern High School.

Principal James Blake described him as a “great, typical kid.”

“He was a very pleasant kid to be around at Northwestern,” Blake said. “He was very nice, he really kept to himself.”

On Twitter, Blake expressed his condolences: “NHS mourns the loss of one of its family members, Frankie Adams. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with his family. You will be missed.”

Extra counselors were at the school all day Friday to help students deal with their loss.

When he wasn’t at school, Adams worked as a cook at Zaxby’s on Heckle Boulevard. He had been working there for about a year, owner Danita Bruce said.

“He was a wonderful kid, and it’s just a really horrible tragedy,” she said.

Bruce described Adams as helpful, friendly and fun-loving, with a kind soul.

“He was one of the best kids I’ve seen come through here in a long time,” she said. “I cannot say enough good things about this young man.”

Emily Little, a 17-year-old student at Northwestern, called Adams an “amazing person” who “always went to school” and made good grades.

“He was always funny and joked around,” she said. “He knew how to make everyone laugh.”

They attended the Phoenix Academy together, where they were in the same math class. Both then transferred to Northwestern.

Last Saturday, Adams spent the day at Little’s home with another friend.

“Lots of memories,” she said. “Too many...It’s not fair he died this young.”

On Friday morning, high school students who knew Adams, and some who didn’t, sent condolences to his family through social media. On Twitter, many students used the hashtag “#RIPFrankie” to memorialize their classmate.

Others reacted with shock.

“I don’t think I’ve ever this semester heard this class so quiet,” one student wrote. “People are taking this hard.”

At Adams’ home, everyone took it hard.

His mother and father, Frankie and Barbara Adams, took refuge in the arms of his sisters, friends and relatives. They were too distraught to speak, but they issued a written statement:

“Words cannot begin to express the magnitude of grief that our family is enduring from our loss. Frankie (Lane) was truly a blessing to all in his life. There is an unimaginable void left without him here with us.

“He was truly an angel on earth to us all. He was the most wonderful, amazing brother, son and friend. He was truly a blessing to all...fortunate enough to know and love him.”

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