SCOTLAND COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Pinecrest High School community is honoring one of their own after suffering a tragic loss just days before graduation.
17-year-old Dennis Purcell was a senior at the school and was set to graduate this weekend.
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol told ABC11 he was involved in a car crash along Highway 401 southbound. He died on the scene and his sister was airlifted to UNC-Chapel Hill, where she remains in critical condition.
School leaders will honor Purcell during Saturday's commencement ceremony.
"We appreciate that. His mother and father will be there to receive his diploma for him," said Kenneth Purcell, Dennis' uncle.
The NCSHP continues to investigate the crash that killed Purcell.
His uncle told ABC11 he had a bright smile and kind heart.
"I remember one time he told me somebody stole his iPod. He goes, 'I'm not worried about it. He probably needed it more than I did,'" said Purcell.
School leaders plan to leave an empty chair for Purcell at the commencement ceremony covered with his cap, gown and a rose.
Hoke County teen killed in motorcycle accident was set to graduate Saturday