Student killed in single-car accident over break

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A funny and distinctive laugh is one of the many things that Brandon Ashley’s friends will remember about him.”Just walking down the hall, you’d hear him laugh, and you would know that’s Brandon laughing,” Jerry Boone, a friend, said. “Hands down, it’s that laugh (that will be remembered). We sat around and talked about (Ashley’s laugh) right before the funeral,” said Helena Banks, who went to high school with Ashley. “It wasn’t diabolical or anything, it’s just funny.”A single-car accident claimed the life of Ashley, a 21-year-old SHSU senior, on Dec. 14.That night Ashley left Boone’s house in Houston to go to his girlfriend’s house, which was also in Houston.”In the police report, the witnesses said that he had his windows down, and he was on his cell phone. They said he was going probably like 80 to 90 (mph), going excessively fast, and then he tried to make a turn that was too sharp for his speed, and he hit the guardrail. They said he flew out the passenger side of the front windshield,” Boone said. “He didn’t have his seatbelt on. He died instantly.”According to Boone the autopsy showed Ashley did not have enough alcohol in his system to play a part in the accident.People will remember Ashley, a criminal justice major who was anticipating graduating in December 2002, because he was well liked, Boone said.”He always looked to help his friends, and he loved to have fun,” Brad Hadnot, a friend, said. “He was so energetic and full of life and so enthusiastic about everything he did. He brought fun into everything he did.””He was a very big part of my day. We had two classes together last semester, and we both lived at the same apartment. He was a huge part of my daily routine,” Boone said. “It’s like a big void is gone now.”Ashley was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, the Talented Tenth, NAACP and the Black Student Alliance while at SHSU.”You would catch him at every social function,” Boone said. “He was a hard worker, as far as the fraternity went. He really sacrificed a lot (for others).””He was everybody’s friend. I don’t think he had an enemy. He was possibly the most well-liked person here,” Banks said. “Brandon was never sad. If you were sad, he’d make you happy. He was a happy-go-lucky person.”Ashley graduated from Duncanville High School in 1998 and won many awards for football. In Ashley’s memory, Kappa Alpha Psi is setting up the Brandon R. Ashley Scholarship Fund. Criteria for the scholarship will include traits that Ashley exhibited, such as being a criminal justice major and being involved in campus organizations, Boone said.Memorial services were held at the Greater Mt. Hebron Baptist Church in Dallas on Dec. 20. According to Banks, the services were so full that there was standing room only.”I had never seen that many people in my life for a funeral, ever,” Banks said. “You could see how many people’s lives he really touched.””One thing that his death has really shown me is that life is like really not to be taken for granted. You never think that Brandon would leave, but he died two days before his 22nd birthday,” Boone said. “Everything was going good for him. He had his graduation date, he wanted to go to law school and really get going in life and in just one night, he’s gone.”