A 17-year-old basketball player in Illinois died over the weekend after his car struck a tree, killing him and injuring three of his passengers.
Waukegan (Ill.) sophomore Malik Brown was pronounced dead Saturday at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill., where he was taken after the one-vehicle crash occurred about 12:31 a.m. that morning in Zion.
“He smiled all the time,” Malik’s mother, Kawanna Brown, told Chicago’s WLS-TV. “He had a big heart. If he see a stranger on the street he’d take his coat off and give it to him if the stranger was cold.”
According to the Daily Herald, the school cancelled its basketball game against Lake Zurich later Saturday night.
“He was just a great young man full of personality, full of love,” Waukegan head coach Dwayne Springs told WLS-TV. “Everyone knows him, he’s so original.”
Waukegan High spokesman Nick Alajakis told the Daily Herald that Brown was close to many players in the Waukegan basketball program.
“It was a difficult time for them,” Alajakis told the Daily Herald.
Police said Brown was driving a 2017 Nissan Sentra when he drove through a stop sign. He was then forced to make an evasive maneuver to avoid another vehicle, causing the Nissan to leave the roadway and strike a tree about 150 feet west of the intersection, authorities told the Daily Herald.
There were four passengers ranging from 16 to 20 years old in the car. Three were taken to area hospitals in stable condition, authorities said.
Police are still investigating the accident, but say speed played a factor in the crash.