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Family remembers Billings West teen killed in crash

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Posted at 2:34 PM, Jan 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-22 10:58:51-05

Funeral services were held Friday morning at Faith Chapel in Billings for 15-year-old Gavin McCombs, who was killed two weeks ago in a car crash.

As his family remembered the West High School sophomore, they also hope that others may learn a lesson from his tragic death.

“He always had a smile on his face. He was such a kind soul. Always wanted to make people laugh,” said Gavin’s mother, Churon.

Churon McCombs has many good memories of her son Gavin, but now that is all she and her family are left with.

“It was a tragic accident that could have been prevented but unfortunately wasn’t, but going on forward, I hope that kids learn a lesson,” she says.

Related: Friends of teen killed in Billings crash gather at memorial

Two Friday nights ago, McCombs was thrown from the backseat of a rollover crash on King Avenue West. He died on the scene.

Police suspect speed was a factor in the crash that also injured three other teens.

It was something his mother says she had worried about—a lot.

“Ever since he got his license or even took driver’s ed, I had been worried about him because he is a teenage boy and that’s what they do. We have had this conversation over and over again. We talked about wearing your seat belt, especially in the back seat, because nobody thinks about wearing their seat belt in the back seat,” she said.

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Gavin McCombs

Gavin’s older sister, Haley, an 18-year-old senior at West, was the first to find out about the crash—and that her little brother did not survive.

“The one thing our whole family agrees to is that I hope that everybody learns a lesson from this. It’s something nobody wants to feel. It’s a hard feeling and none of us wish this on anybody,” Haley says.

The crash has left the family devastated.

“It feels like our world just came to a stop. And it’s hard to imagine a new reality without him. It’s been really challenging and super heartbreaking to think about all of it,” said cousin Aryana McCombs.

“Hug your loved ones. Tell them you love them. Make amends. Life can be too short,” said another cousin, Brittnie Donaldson.

The McCombs family is not the only one dealing with heartbreaking loss. Weeks earlier in December, four teenagers died in this crash on Minnesota Avenue.

Churon says after hearing about that wreck on the news, she talked to her son once again about the importance of slowing down and buckling up. She believes that many teens feel like it’s not something that could happen to them.

“I really hope that his legacy lives on and that these teenagers realize when they get behind the wheel that they are not only responsible for themselves, but they are also responsible for everybody in the car. And anyone who gets into the car, it’s their decision like it was Gavin’s, but it’s also their ultimate decision to wear their seatbelt and be safe.

“I’m stuck in a nightmare that I can’t get out of, and I don’t know if I will ever get out of it,” she says.