A day after a Clover High School senior was killed in a crash while driving home from school, friends and classmates of Tyler Book said they couldn't talk without crying.
Book, 19, died Tuesday when his car collided with a tanker truck on S.C. 55 east of Clover High School. Book was trying to turn left onto Griggs Road at the time of the crash, according to the Highway Patrol.
When 18-year-old Brandi Thackston accepts her diploma June 2 during Clover High School's graduation ceremonies, she said she will be thinking of her late classmate.
"I really don't think I will be able to walk across the stage at graduation without one of the best classmates that Clover has lost," she said in an online message to The Herald.
Thackston remembers Book greeting her every day at school with a hug and a shout of, "Aye, girl."
"He was a caring young man who helped the community out greatly," she said.
Book spent the past couple of years with the emergency medical service unit that serves River Hills and Lake Wylie - first as a junior member before he turned 18. For more than six months, he worked as a first responder and driver.
EMS squad director Dick Mann said Wednesday that Book was a "big asset" to the group, someone who often filled in for other drivers on short notice.
"Even at the last minute if something happened, he was able to come in and take over," Mann said.
While some young people can give the impression they're only interested in what fits into their own schedules, Mann said, Book "was above and beyond that."
The squad, he said, is looking at options to remember Book, "not just now but into the future." The loss is and will remain difficult - even for the squad that routinely deals with life-and-death situations.
"Any time you are familiar with an individual, it certainly makes it more difficult," Mann said.
Besides his EMS work, Book was interested in anything relating to technology. He was a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Boston Celtics.
Samantha Rose, 18, a family friend, said Book highly valued his family and friends.
"Tyler was an amazing guy," she said in an online message to The Herald. "He was always there for anyone. He could always make you laugh, no matter how bad your day was."
Lauren Germano, a freshman at Temple University, knew Book when he lived in his hometown of East Greenbush, N.Y., and described him as having a "great sense of humor" along with a "heart of gold" who could "brighten anyone's day."
Clover High Principal Mark Hopkins, in a school district statement, said the school is "stunned by this loss," calling Book an "exemplary student who was well-liked by students and faculty."
"He was simply a great kid from a wonderful family," Hopkins said. "Our hearts go out to the Books during this difficult time. They are in the hearts of every Blue Eagle."
The school is offering support to students and teachers.
No charges have been filed in Tuesday's crash, the third deadly crash on S.C. 55 since May 2010.
Books is the son of David and Michele Book. He has a brother and two sisters.
A memorial service will be 2 p.m., Saturday at Pine Grove Baptist Church in Lake Wylie. The family will receive friends following the service.
Memorials may be made to Tyler James Book Memorial Fund at the Lake Wylie branch of Bank of America.
— John Marks of the Lake Wylie Pilot contributed.