LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - A small makeshift memorial has formed where a man died along NC-73 in Lincoln County.
Jacob Chase, 24, of Lincoln County, died early Wednesday morning after his motorcycle collided with a tree that had fallen in the road.
The wreck happened around 2 a.m. near Club Drive and N. Pilot Knob Road.
Chase was pronounced dead at the scene.
A few of Chase's friends returned to the crash site Thursday night.
Hollie Fox and Elena Poteat left flowers along the side of the road.
Fox said Chase was a friend and neighbor. She said she had known him for 15 years and thought of him like a brother.
Poteat said she used to drive the school bus that Chase would ride. Both women described the young man as very sociable and very friendly.
"He was one of the best guys I've ever met in my life," Fox told WBTV.
Poteat fondly remembers Chase's talkative demeanor.
"He had a lot to say - smiles, laughs, a heart as big as Texas," described Poteat.
When Chase's friends found out about the deadly crash, they were crushed.
"It still feels like it's not real. It feels like a nightmare that you can't wake up from," explained Fox.
Poteat described the incident as a 'freak accident'.
"There's just no reason for it," she said.
Poteat thinks the wreck could have been prevented. She's hoping drivers will step up the next time they notice an object blocking the road.
"If you ever come across a tree in the road, don't leave until law enforcement comes. Please don't leave because you could save somebody's life," said Poteat.
The pain of what happened to Chase is still a fresh wound, but for some of his loved ones, his death serves as a reminder that nothing should be taken for granted.
"Never stop living life to the fullest because you never know when it's gonna get taken away," said Fox.
Chase leaves behind a mother, father and twin brother.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help his family pay for funeral expenses. A link to the page can be found here.