A 16-year-old boy who was sitting on the couch watching television was killed when a drunk driver crashed his truck into the boy’s Penville, Indiana, home, authorities confirm to PEOPLE.
Seth Corwin, a junior at Jay County High School, died instantly of blunt force trauma when a Ford-F-350 truck going 50 mph in a 20 mph zone, allegedly rounded a curve too sharply and veered off the road, Coroner Jason White tells PEOPLE. White was watching television with his 10-year-old stepbrother, who suffered minor injuries. His stepmother, who was in another room of the house, was unharmed.
“The crash took the truck through the house and pushed the far wall in the kitchen out about two to three feet,” White says. “I have never seen anything like that. It took my breath away .If there is anything positive about this, it’s that Seth died instantly. He didn’t suffer.”
The driver, 47-year-old Bryce Paxton, was allegedly driving from an area bar to his home, and his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit of .08, authorities tell PEOPLE.
Paxton has been charged with causing death while operating a motor vehicle, a felony, court personnel tells PEOPLE.
Seth Corwin Was on School Drum Line
Bob Hampshire, Seth’s maternal grandfather, tells PEOPLE that the family is devastated by the tragedy.
“Seth was different from a lot of kids. One thing he liked to do whenever he came down to our house was clean, and do dishes,” Hampshire says.
Hampshire adds: “He was a kid but he always liked to do grown up things. He was a great role model for his [stepbrother] and other kids.”
Seth worked at the volunteer fire department and at McDonalds, and enjoyed doing woodwork with Hampshire.
He also played bass drum and marimba as a member of his school’s drumline, where he was known as “Sassy Seth.”
Mitchell Snyder, the percussion director, took pleasure watching Seth mature from when he met him as a sixth grader.
“He came into this thing a shy kid, not even sure he wanted to do it, and it was really cool to watch him grow into a confident, witty trend setter,” Snyder tells PEOPLE.
“His attitude was contagious. He always had a smile and he always greeted everyone with wide-open arms, wanting them to succeed,” Snyder says. “He was my go-to guy.”
After his death, friends, family members and townspeople held a candlelight vigil in downtown Penville in his honor. (They donated canned food goods for the homeless, because homelessness was an issue Seth cared deeply about.)
His band mates have several events in his honor scheduled and are planning to incorporate his favorite colors – orange and John Deere green – into new uniform designs.
In honor of Seth’s fondness for Chicken McNuggets, his band mates will ritualistically eat chicken nuggets before events, and will leave a package on the field in his memory, Snyder says.
“Through the tears and laughter and laughter that causes tears we are all thinking of ways to honor him,” says Snyder.