Former NASCAR legend James Hylton and his son died in car crash
Father and son were pronounced dead at the scene while the driver, crew chief Terry Strange, was rushed to the hospital.
James Hylton Sr. and James 'Tweety' Hylton Jr. lost their lives on Saturday, April 28, 2018, when the vehicle they were in crashed with a creek bank on Interstate 85, in Georgia.
They were on their way back from an Automobile Racing Club of America Event, which took place on Friday, at Alabama's Talladega Superspeedway, as reported by People.
Clayton Bryant, Franklin County Deputy Coroner, said that father and son died immediately upon impact and that Strange suffered several broken bones. He was transported to a Greenville hospital, in South Carolina.
Police officers informed the family of the tragic deaths, and Hylton Sr.'s ex-wife, Evelyn Hylton, tearfully talked about her son, who she considered to be a very good and lovable human being.
“He was a schoolteacher, and James talked him into quitting and going racing with him.”
Evelyn Hylton, The Roanoke Times, April 28, 2018.
I’m thinking of the friends and family of James Hylton. James was a true racer and loved this sport so much. It was an honor to meet him a few times over the years, he will be missed. pic.twitter.com/JoG8USwQ1c— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) April 29, 2018
During an interview, the grieving mother said that she had spoken to her son on the phone around midnight and that he told her they were going back on the road after eating at a restaurant.
According to Evelyn, Stranger told the authorities that he thought the 83-year-old NASCAR legend was having a heart attack, which was why he turned around to check on him.
But being so reckless while driving a GMC truck with a big trailer carrying a race car in it was a recipe for disaster. Stranger lost control of the vehicle, went across the median and the oncoming lane of traffic before hitting the embankment.
Thoughts and prayers out to Hylton family and friends. James was a legend. He enjoyed his time in stock car racing and saw the sport evolve and grow over the many decades that he was involved. https://t.co/qnDQxfc31J— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) April 28, 2018
NASCAR reacted to Hylton Sr.'s death by sharing an emotional post on Twitter, in which the former driver's accomplishments were remembered, as well as his influence as a man and an athlete.
Hylton first caught the world's attention by winning Rookie of the Year at NASCAR's highest level, the famous 1972 Talladega Superspeedway race. He was considered to be a fierce competitor and was always a title contender during his career.