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Crash kills mother's "big teddy bear' son

The doorbell awakened Diane Sprague.

It was 1 a.m.

She opened the front door; a young man was standing there. Immediately, Sprague knew something was wrong.

"He said, "Miss, you have to come quick! Kevin's been in a horrible accident,' " Sprague said. "He was freaking out."

Within minutes, Sprague would learn that her son, Kevin Sprague, had been killed in a car crash and his friend, Justin Cornell, was critically injured.

The friend who delivered the news had seen the mangled car while driving home from work.

"It was awful," Sprague said. "I thought I was dreaming."

Kevin Sprague, 21, and Cornell, 19, were cruising around just after midnight on Wednesday morning when Cornell, 19, reportedly lost control of his Chevrolet Monte Carlo. The car flipped, and both men were ejected. Neither appeared to have been wearing seat belts.

Sprague died at the hospital. Cornell was flown to St. Joseph's Hospital, where he remained Thursday night in critical condition.

The accident happened inside the Country Crossings at Foxwood subdivision. A report suggests that the boys were headed out of the community going westbound on Foxwood Boulevard.

Because Cornell's car was the only one involved in the crash, Diane Sprague is left with questions.

She says she's not sure why her son was out so late or where the pair were headed.

"This just doesn't make any sense," said Diane Sprague, whose son lived with her.

A Florida Highway Patrol report states that the accident was not alcohol related. But Cornell has received seven traffic citations since 2001 including both speeding and careless driving infractions in 2002.

Last year, Cornell was arrested and charged with drug possession and possession of narcotics equipment and drug paraphernalia. He received a suspended sentence. In November, he was arrested on charges of possession of a concealed weapon and shoplifting. A records search showed no Florida arrests for Kevin Sprague.

Both were old friends from the neighborhood. They went way back. Years ago, Cornell, Kevin Sprague and a few others would ride their bikes through the neighborhood. They called themselves the Country Crossing Boys, or CCB.

"I was really upset that my brother started hanging out with him again," said Kevin's sister, Kelly Sprague, 18.

But Diane Sprague doesn't want to assign blame.

"I don't want to point fingers," she said. "What's done is done. You can't bring him back and (Cornell's) family is going through hell, too."

To Diane Sprague, Kevin was a "big teddy bear." He was 6 feet, 2 inches tall and husky. Kevin loved rap music and fishing with his dad.

Since the accident, more than 200 friends and family members have trickled into the Sprague home on Stirrup Lane. Some have shared memories and stories of a friend they called "Butchie."

They recalled a time when Sprague saw an alligator near his house. He wrestled it, then posed for a silly photo with the six-footer before setting it free.

Then, there was the time Sprague spent eight hours helping a friend replace the CV joints on his car.

That's just the kind of guy he was, Diane Sprague said with a smile.

"Loving, happy and he cared about everybody," she said.

Kevin Sprague himself had car trouble recently when his beat-up, blue minivan broke down. After that, he had to bum a ride from friends to his job at a nearby horse farm.

Now, Diane Sprague hangs on to her last memory of seeing her son alive.

"That morning, he kissed me on the cheek and went outside to wait for his ride," she said.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report.

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