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Every Face Tells a Story

Two days after Aaron Pennywell was killed by a drunk driver, his 16-year-old brother Jack organized an impromptu roadside memorial where close to 400 people showed up to pay their respects.

Aaron’s best friends still drop by to visit his parents and remember the good times.

Kae and Dennis Pennywell take their son’s mangled Mustang to high schools to show what a fatal crash looks like, and they urge students to be safe and responsible.

In 2011, Aaron was one of 1,130 people killed in Texas in a drunk driving crash.

Meet Aaron Pennywell.


The last thing Aaron said to his mother as he left after work to grab a bite to eat and go see his girlfriend was I love you. His dad says his son was crazy about baseball. He smiles when he recalls how they played catch in the street when Aaron was just learning the game. Jack remembers joyriding in his big brother’s pride and joy, his 2009 black Mustang.

Memories are what families hold on to when someone they love is suddenly taken away. They now honor Aaron in various ways. There is a choir scholarship in his name where he went to school. There are presentations to high school and college students. But there is a hole that nothing can fill. It is the special space they will always keep for the son and brother they know isn’t coming back.


They have no shortage of ways to describe their friend Aaron. Great to be around, never dull. Always smiling. His friends remember Aaron doing funny impressions and voices. He was a prankster. He loved his little brother. He loved his car.

No one saw it coming. One day they were joking with a guy they’d known since they were kids. The next day he was gone.

So Aaron’s buddies speak out against drinking and driving whenever they have a chance. They talk about the speeding drunk driver who slammed into their friend and took his life at 1:36 a.m. on a warm summer night. They tell others to make smart choices. It’s what Aaron would want, they say. He’d want to help in any way he could.

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