Minnesota firefighter Randy Peterson's worst fears came true Sunday night when he was called to a car crash with a vehicle on fire. Peterson, a volunteer firefighter in the small town of Ada, knew that his 16-year-old son, Carter, was out—and he knew the vehicle was his son's car as soon as he saw the tires, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Carter died at the scene. The teen's Dodge Avenger had been hit by a pickup truck whose driver allegedly ran a stop sign at an intersection on the rural highway. Police say the 20-year-old pickup driver had alcohol in his system.
"I dropped to my knees. I was a mess," Peterson says. "Another member of the crew just held me." He says Carter, who was often on the highway because his girlfriend lived in a town 40 miles away, "was probably the most cautious driver—two hands on the wheel, and he never sped. He did nothing wrong." Peterson tells the Grand Forks Herald there's something he wants every parent to do: "Just hug your kids every night, tell them that you love them every day." Carter played offensive guard and defensive tackle on the football team at Ada-Borup High School, which honored him at a game Wednesday and presented his family with his No. 63 jersey. (Something similar happened in New Hampshire.)