Loved ones remember best friends killed in Jefferson St. crash - WSMV News 4

Loved ones remember best friends killed in Jefferson St. crash

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Willie Nichols Willie Nichols
Aaron Hall Aaron Hall
Stephanie Ferguson Stephanie Ferguson

Loved ones are remembering two Nashville men killed Thursday when a truck ran into the back of their car.

Aaron Hall was an Army vet who worked for UPS, married for 27 years. His best friend, Willie Nichols, was a longtime worker for Baptist Hospital, married for 32 years. The families of the two men told Channel 4 they were just alike, and beyond having long loving relationships with their wives, they couldn't have been better dads.

"We were thinking about selling this house, was looking for another house," said Willie Nichols' wife, Deborah Nichols. "He was just wanting to get all his family and friends together one more time. We didn't have any idea. Every morning, he would start my car and get me off to work. I'm going to miss all of that."

Nichols was known as "the mayor" on his street for the way he was always lending neighbors a hand. Pictures everywhere in his home, he was all about capturing moments with the people he loved.

"He was going to let you know he loved you, and there was nothing you could do about it," laughed daughter Sherica Nichols. "We love our memories. Wherever we go, we have those."

At the very center of his world was granddaughter D'nya.

"This was his pride and joy right here," said Sherica Nichols. "He called her 'granddaddy's baby.' He was my personal nanny, and I can't thank him enough for everything."

Thursday, Nichols and Hall were at the intersection of Jefferson Street and Third Avenue when a pickup truck hit their vehicle, killing both men.

The phone's been constantly ringing with words of support for the family of Aaron Hall, a man always feeding the homeless at his church, known to everyone as "Big A."

"My sister, she's planning on getting married this year," said Aaron Hall's daughter, Jeanine Hall. "That wreck that happened, she's not going to get the chance for her father to walk her down the aisle."

The suspected driver in the crash, Stephanie Ferguson, had just been in court earlier Thursday to be sentenced on a 2013 DUI charge of driving into a Madison home. Channel 4 found Ferguson has 15 revoked license charges since 2006. On her Facebook page, Ferguson said, "To everyone that is downing me, I had a seizure, and I'm so sorry for the lives taken. Prayers for the families involved and people hurt."

"It's not fair," said Jeanine Hall. "She had just got out of court and killed two innocent people who were just living their lives. Keep all of us in prayers - us, the Nichols and even pray for the young lady who caused the wreck."

The house incident was actually Ferguson's third DUI arrest in three years. She had a DUI on Dec. 19, 2011. It was pleaded down to reckless endangerment.

Ferguson had a second DUI on March 24, 2013. She served the minimum required 48-hour sentence.

Following the crash into the house on Dec. 31, 2013, Ferguson once again served 48 hours instead of the mandatory minimum 45 days of jail for a second offense.

"If it was treated as a second DUI, she could have been in jail yesterday and this crash wouldn't have occurred," said Kate Ritchie, state program director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. "She knew better. She knew she wasn't supposed to be driving, and she did. And look at the tragic results that happened."

Ferguson was charged with a misdemeanor probation violation Friday. Charges related to Thursday's crash are still pending.

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