Family speaks out after teen killed in DUI crash in Spartanburg Co.

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SPARTANBURG CO., S.C. (WSPA) – We’re hearing from the family of a Spartanburg County teenager after troopers say he was hit by a drunk driver and killed over the weekend.

“He loved racing. He loved basketball. He loved to fish,” Zailyn Jackson’s mother Jessica Jackson Taylor said. “He was just an average kid going through teenage life.”

That’s how Jessica Jackson Taylor described her 15-year-old son Zailyn Jackson.

“He loved the outdoors. He loved being outside. He loved riding his four-wheeler. He just loved life itself,” his grandmother Patty Taylor added.

Zailyn was riding with his grandmother, his brother, and his best friend near the intersection of Old Hills Bridge Road and Cross Anchor Road early Sunday morning when the car stalled.

“We were fixing to go back to the house to watch a movie, have some snacks, and have a good time,” Patty Taylor said. “And, then, all of a sudden, this truck came from nowhere.”

Zailyn’s grandmother said she thinks Zailyn pushed his brother and friend out of the way.

“Zailyn didn’t make it. The driver’s mirror got Zailyn on the face,” she said. “He was going at a high rate of speed.”

33-year-old Travis Collins was arrested and charged with felony DUI resulting in death and for having an open container in his vehicle.

He was denied bond at a hearing on Sunday.

“Here, we have to bury our child, our grandchild, because of a drunk driver. He needs to stay in jail,” Patty Taylor said.

Zailyn was a student at Woodruff High School. The school released the following statement:

“The entire Woodruff High School family is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of our students, Zailyn Jackson.  Zailyn was a freshman who was polite and genuinely cared for others.  We will all miss Zailyn’s kind heart and friendly demeanor.  He will be deeply missed by both his teachers and classmates. Please pray for his family and friends during this most difficult time.”

Zailyn’s family now has a message for other drivers.

“If you’re drinking, you need to call somebody to pick you up,” Patty Taylor said. “Don’t get behind the wheel of a car, because somebody’s innocent life could be taken in a split second.”

The school district told 7News there will be counselors available for students at Woodruff High School from 9:00 a.m. to noon, Tuesday through Thursday of this week.

South Carolina Highway Patrol and the Spartanburg County Coroner’s Office are still investigating the crash.

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