Aaron Nelson was excited Friday night that he was accepted to firefighting school, so he took a spin in his Acura to his girlfriend's house.
But he never made it.
Instead, authorities at the Bradenton Police Department said the 19-year-old's car smashed into a stop sign at about 9 p.m. at Manatee Avenue and 51st Street West while he was possibly drag racing another car. Nelson died at Bayfront Medical Center.
His father, David Nelson, said his son was a good kid who liked high-performance cars. He said his son graduated from Manatee High School and later was certified as an emergency medical technician from Manatee Technical Institute.
David Nelson said his son played hockey in high school and more recently with the Punishers at J.P. Igloo.
He was just on the cusp of attending a firefighting school when he died.
"That's what makes it more of a tragedy was he just got accepted there," Nelson said. "Life was great for him."
Investigators are still trying to find out more about the crash and are asking for witnesses to call the department. They said witnesses reported Aaron Nelson drag racing another car before he lost control and was ejected during the crash.
"I had, had several sit-down conversations about keeping it under control, and he promised he would," David Nelson said about his son's driving. "Obviously he was going way too fast."
But the 19-year-old's family is trying to honor his memory by asking the public to donate to a special scholarship fund at West Manatee Fire Rescue.
"He was a good kid and has a lot of real good friends. His mother and I will get over it in time," David Nelson said. "But Aaron's really missing out. He was really on his way."
Anyone with information about this accident is asked to contact the Bradenton Police Department at 708-6273, ext. 338.
For information about donating to a fire scholarship fund in honor of Aaron Nelson, call West Manatee Fire Rescue 741-3900.