They said 5-year-old Jayden Chad Stokes and his father, 22-year-old Richard Stokes, looked happy and were talking as they strolled in the 600 block of East Montgomery Street around 1:15 p.m.
"Probably doing some little boy things, walk to the store, probably to the park. He seemed like a cool guy," recalled witness Ty Stewart.
But that ended when police say 47-year-old Vincent Gregory lost control of a 1998 GMC truck, hit a telephone pole, then the boy and his father, before coming to rest in a tree.
"It happened so quick, everybody was just sitting there, didn't know what to do," said Stewart.
Stewart and his girlfriend rushed to help.
"The truck driver didn't even run off - sitting there, scared, crying about somebody help him, please help him," said Stewart.
Stewart's girlfriend did what she could for the father and son.
"I seen him laying down. The impact was so hard on the child, his boots were off, and half his sock was hanging off," she said.
She took Jayden's pulse, checked his heartbeat - both were weak. She learned the boy's name and age from his father, as he lay there in pain.
"It's the most horrific thing I've ever seen, to lose a child like that," said the woman, who asked not to be identified.
The driver and father and child were rushed to the hospital. Jayden later died.
Gregory is now charged with felony death by motor vehicle, driving while impaired, and driving with a revoked license.
Richard Stokes was listed in fair condition at Duke Medical Center.
Family members said Jayden's Visitation will be this Thursday at the J.M. White Funeral Home from 5:30 to 7 p.m. A funeral service will be held immediately following the visitation.