Adam and Abigail Jackson, who were among the 20 people killed in a horrific limousine accident on Saturday in upstate New York, were longtime sweethearts who cherished being parents to their two young children, their close friend tells PEOPLE.
Justin Cushing — who is also grieving the loss of his brother, Patrick Cushing, as a result of this weekend’s crash — served as the best man in the couple’s wedding, and says Adam was someone who was loved by countless others.
“You’ll find many people that will call Adam their best friend. That is just the type of person he was,” Cushing, 34, says of Adam, his longtime friend who he’s known since their time playing baseball in grade school.
“That is why it was such an honor when he asked me to be his best man. We grew up together — from immature high school freshmen playing video games all night.”
The couple was celebrating their friend Amy Steenburg’s 30th birthday on October 6 when the limo they were traveling in failed to stop at a T-intersection in the rural town of Schoharie. The limo flew into a nearby parking lot and crashed into an unoccupied SUV, killed the driver and all 17 passengers. Also killed were two pedestrians, who were struck by a parked SUV after it was slammed into by the limo.
Adam and Abigail were parents to two daughters, 4-year-old Archer and 16-month-old Elle, according to the Times Union and a GoFundMe page set up to provide for the kids, which has raised more than $65,000. According to the campaign, donations raised from the page will be given to the children’s grandmother, Beth, and will be used for expenses and schooling as they grow up without their parents.
“I don’t want to speak for his family, but I will say their lives were devoted to their kids,” Cushing, whose brother, Patrick, is a godparent to Archer, says of the couple. “They were such amazing parents.”
Over the course of their 15-year friendship, Cushing was able to see first hand Adam and Abigail’s relationship evolve from a budding romance to a fully blossomed love affair.
“I went to college with Abby, his girlfriend at the time,” Cushing recalls, “and he knew even though they were apart, he had someone he could trust there for her.”
It was after graduation that Cushing and his brother, along with Abigail, Adam and Adam’s sister, all moved in together. Looking back, they are times that he feels fortunate to have experienced.
“Pat and I were lucky to experience them grow their relationship into a marriage by living with them,” Cushing says.
According to some witnesses, the limo was traveling at 60 miles per hour at the time of the accident.
Alan Tavenner, a supervisor for the town of Schoharie, tells PEOPLE that the intersection has been the scene of many accidents over the years, due to a deep hill that drivers must navigate as they enter the junction. Because of its design, it is possible for drivers coming down the hill to mistakenly believe the road continues on.
An investigation into the crash is ongoing.
As he copes with the pain of losing so much over the course of a single afternoon, Cushing says he will miss the special friendship that he shared with Adam, one that he enjoyed for nearly half of his life.
“Adam was a quick thinker, witty, and an ear always available to listen,” Cushing says. “I’d really like for his family to best tell his story, but for me, he was like my second half.”