BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A Birmingham family is sending a message about the importance of wearing seatbelts after losing two young relatives less than a year apart.
More than 50 family members and friends of DeMarcus Avery gathered at West End Park Thursday evening to honor the 25-year old's life.
Avery was killed last week in a car accident in Greene County.
He was riding in the passenger seat when the car left the road and overturned. Avery was ejected.
His aunt Nakecia says it has been a hard pill to swallow. "I don't think anyone of us is handling it well. The kids are affected by it, the grown folks are affected by it. The whole family is affected by it," Stone said.
It's the second young loved one the family has lost in less than a year.
In March 2017, 19-year-old Derenesha Reynolds was killed in a single car accident on Lakeshore Parkway.
Authorities say her car left the roadway and hit a pole which caused her to be ejected from the car.
Reynolds and Avery were first cousins.
"We're praying and leaning on each other for support. That's all we have right now," Stone says, reflecting on the deaths.
She also has a message for the community when it comes to safety and driving.
"Please put your seat belts on. Please put your kids in car seats. I know younger people think it's cool to drive without no seat belt. But just put your seatbelt on. Put the phones down. Pay attention to the road because not all drivers pay attention to the road. So you're driving for yourself and probably six, seven other people as well. So just put your seat belt on and take it slow. Just take your time," said Stone.
Both Avery and Reynolds leave two young sons behind.