Washington-Liberty holds vigil in remembrance of student killed in car crash

Arlington community comes together to mourn deceased senior

People gather in front of Washington-Liberty High School before the vigil begins.

Just after midnight on Friday, Nov. 11, Washington-Liberty High School student Braylon Meade was killed in a car crash on Old Dominion Drive. Meade, a senior, was hit in the side by a fellow teenager, who was driving over the speed limit while under the influence of alcohol. The teenager who caused the crash has since been charged with involuntary manslaughter and is currently in a juvenile detention facility. On Sunday, Nov. 13, students and teachers from Washington-Liberty as well as members of the greater Arlington community gathered in front of the school to remember and celebrate Meade’s life.

“It is so wonderful to see all of you here tonight in support of such a wonderful young man,” Washington-Liberty principal Tony Hall said. “In the days to come, we want to make sure we lift each other to honor Braylon. We want to continue to put our arms around one another.”

Meade was memorialized by his community members for his consistently upbeat attitude. A member of the W-L football and basketball teams, many remarks were made about his willingness to help his teammates become better players and people.

“His personality was infectious,” Hall said. “He was definitely [a scholar] and not just an athlete, but a competitor, a young man who would get out there and make sure he put his all into every play.”

Many of the speakers at the event were longtime friends of Meade who spoke to the large crowd about personal recollections they had of Meade’s life.

“I’ve known Braylon my entire life. [He was part of] my first memory. As we got older, he became one of my best friends,” W-L senior Henry Dempsey said. “We spent every afternoon together playing football and video games, or building Legos. I’m really going to miss him. I know he touched a lot of people.”

Despite the tragic circumstances of the situation, the Arlington community responded with a large amount of positive feedback, providing lots of support for Meade’s family and friends.

“My God, what a community. The support has been unheard of. [The community] has gotten us through it and we’re going to lean on it heavily,” said Kris Meade, Braylon’s father. “We’re going to be present for this entire [basketball] season for you guys. You guys are there; we hear it, we feel it. We really appreciate every last word that each of you said. It’s been amazing.”

The memorial event, which was attended by hundreds of people, demonstrated the way in which Braylon’s life impacted his community as well as exhibiting the senseless violence caused by drunk driving. Although he passed away far too soon, Braylon Meade’s memory will be carried on by all of the members of the local community.

“[He was] a funny and introspective young man, a young man of family and a young man of faith,” Hall said. “Those are the kind of attributes that go a long way. Certainly, we will not forget him and all that he has given to us here in the community.”