CLARKSVILLE Fla. (WMBB) — Nineteen-year-old AJ Espinel passed away in a tragic car accident last Sunday.
On Saturday, the Clarksville community did what they do best in the wake of tragedy. They hosted a car wash fundraiser for the family.
“This is not the first one this community has had for someone that needs it, it doesn’t matter. Rain or shine, cold,” AJ’s mother Kim Espinel. “AJ actually participated in quite a few of them showed up to help because when something goes wrong in this community, that’s what they do.”
Community members met at the Clarksville General Gas Station to raise money for Espinel’s family.
“Everybody loves a car wash, so I guess we just decided to do that. And we always do it here for any kind of benefit,” AJ’s friend Brian Bieler said.
Even the sheriff’s office showed support by bringing both their cruizers and personal vehicles to be washed.
Kim said this is reflective of the impact her son had on those around him.
“He had to do to make somebody laugh, it did not matter what it was he had it just didn’t matter,” Kim said.
AJ passed away last weekend in a car accident on highway 20.
“The information we got on the scene was he went off the road because it was raining really bad,” Kim said. “He went off the road and he overcorrected coming back on and crossed into the other line of traffic and another truck hit him.”
AJ’s family and friends said his exuberant and welcoming personality made him shine.
“Everybody who knew him. Remembered him. He just stood out”
“He was a wild child. That’s all I could really say to one of the wildest people and one of the nicest people you can meet,” Biebel said.
“Somebody met him three days before he passed,” Espinel said.“They knew him for an hour, and she was here today. So many for so many things. He helped get the kayaks out as all he was doing. They needed help. He showed up to help. Never met these people in his life. He loaded their kayaks up, toted them out, you know, back to where they needed them, and wouldn’t take anything for it. He was always helping someone do something, whether it was getting in trouble or out. He was always helping somebody do something. He was always there.”
All the money raised from the car wash will go to help cover the family’s expenses.