BROOKSVILLE — People who knew Chad Walker say he was a funny and nice guy, a good student and football player whose competitive spirit was a model for the rest of the team.
"When I was a freshman and he was a junior, he was the guy who encouraged me to be tough," Steven Read, a former Central High School teammate, said Wednesday. "He was pretty famous for saying, 'Never let the defense scare you.' "
Walker, 23, who died Tuesday evening from injuries suffered in a weekend car accident, was also known as being exceptionally close to his twin brother, Chase.
"All around campus, you rarely saw them apart," said former Central High principal Dennis McGeehan.
They played football together at Central and, later, at Marietta College in southeastern Ohio.
And on Saturday afternoon, they were riding in a sport utility vehicle together near their home in Spring Hill.
Chase Walker was driving a Ford Explorer on Hanford Avenue when the SUV suddenly left the road, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Investigators said Chase Walker overcorrected and traveled back across the road, causing the Explorer to roll several times before it came to a stop in a yard.
Chase Walker, who was wearing a seat belt, suffered minor injuries, according to the FHP report; his twin brother, who was not restrained, was taken to Oak Hill Hospital, where he later died.
Another passenger, Michael Gene Sawchuk, 23, of Brooksville also was not wearing a seat belt and sustained minor injuries.
"He was one of those young men who you knew always had a lot of potential," McGeehan said of Chad Walker. "I can only imagine the sadness that is going through that family right now."
Graduates from Central High School in 2008, the brothers were also on the school's weightlifting team. On the football field, Chad played wide receiver and Chase was quarterback.
Joe Clifford, a former principal at West Hernando Middle School, said he got to know the red-headed twins when they attended that school. He said the entire family was very involved with the boys' academic and athletic activities.
"They were great kids," Clifford said. "They're a good family. It's a travesty. Bad things happen to good people."
McGeehan recalled Chad Walker as a well-rounded student who excelled in the classroom as well as at sports.
Clifford said there will be a fundraiser at Texas Roadhouse on Cortez Boulevard on Oct. 28 from 3 to 10 p.m.
The FHP said the accident is still being investigated.
Logan Neill can be reached at email@example.com or (352) 848-1435.