CLINTON, N.C. (WTVD) -- The North Carolina State Highway Patrol is investigating what happened in the moments before an 18-year-old driver ran off the road and struck another 18-year-old who was checking his family's mailbox.
The Serrano family's driveway is full of reminders -- a mangled mailbox on one end with a memorial on the other.
"It's a bad situation that I cannot explain. This has been really tough for us," said Marta Serrano-Sanchez.
Sanchez says her son Eric Serrano, 18, just graduated from Clinton High School and like many teens his age was planning out his future by applying to colleges and scholarships.
"He was probably waiting for a letter because it was unusual that he would check the mail but he was waiting for something important," Sanchez said.
Eric Serrano will never know whether he got the letter he was looking for. The moment he went to check was the moment he took his last breath.
"I heard a big hit. It was not like a car accident or someone hit a pole. It was different sound, like a person. So I started running outside. I was on the phone and said 'Hold on' but I didn't know who it was. But whenever I came out here. It was my son," Sanchez said.
The State Highway Patrol charged 18-year-old Skylin Peterson with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and crossing left of center.
"It's a question that we're asking ourselves. 'Why? Why was she on the other side of the lane,'" Sanchez questioned.
Despite the questions, the family holds no quarrels.
"We forgive her. We love her," said Sanchez.
Eric Serrano had big dreams of being a general contractor, often tagging along with older brother for the experience.
"Sometimes I would take him to work with me and he was a really hard worker. He would outwork anyone - even me," Eric's brother told ABC11.
But more than working, Eric Serrano's family says he loved Jesus.
"He was prepared," his mother said.
The State Highway Patrol said speed and alcohol were not factors in this crash.
They are still looking into whether Peterson was distracted.