Car crash claims lives of North Bethesda natives
Two brothers were headed home for visit
A fiery car crash wasn't the way life should have ended for Holt and Stone Weeks, according to family.
The two young North Bethesda natives died on Interstate 81 in Virginia on Thursday evening when their car was slammed between two tractor-trailers just south of Interstate 66 in Shenandoah County. According to Virginia state police, the truck which rear-ended the brothers' 2007 Honda CPE forced the car underneath a tractor-trailer in front of them. That set off a chain reaction in which a third and fourth tractor-trailer were hit, rupturing one of the trucks' side fuel tanks.
Fire spread quickly through the vehicles, burning the Honda beyond recognition, according to police.
Stone Weeks was 24. His brother William, known by his middle name, Holt, was 20. The two, who both lived in Houston, Texas, had been on their way home. Their parents, artist Jan Taylor Weeks and journalist Linton Weeks, live in North Bethesda.
"The sadness of this loss is not just because they were such good guys, but that they both really had the potential to change the world," said their cousin, Chicago resident Lou Weeks. A graduate of Walter Johnson High School, Holt Weeks had recently transferred from Eckerd College in Florida to Rice University in Houston. He was set to start in the fall, and hoped to someday run for political office. Stone Weeks, a graduate of St. Andrew's Episcopal School, was a researcher for historian Douglas Brinkley. The brothers were heading home to attend a book party for Brinkley's new book, a biography of Theodore Roosevelt, when the accident happened.
Rather than take an airplane, the two drove across the country because Stone Weeks wanted to travel with his much-loved dog, Priam, Lou Weeks said.
Al Hightower, athletic director for St. Andrew's Episcopal School, first met Stone Weeks when the boy was in seventh grade. "He was a tall and kind of gangly kid, and I was the basketball coach at that time, so of course I noticed him right away," Hightower said.
Hightower would go on to coach Weeks for two years in high school. By that time, Weeks had grown to be well over 6 feet. Hightower described Weeks as hardworking, sensitive and respectful. "The respect he gave you was not like a lot of kids," Hightower said. "He was able to listen to what you said, and was able to ask you questions and do that in a calm way."
Hightower also became close with the Weeks family, he said. He plans on speaking at the memorial service for the two young men.
On a Facebook page dedicated to their memory, Lou Weeks decided to re-write history for his cousins — known for their fiery red hair and outspoken personalities — in a poem he titled "Ode to Beautiful Young Men (Now Old and Retired)." "Stone and Holt did not want this," The poem read. "They did not want a detour, a dangerous highway, and a massive truck. They wanted so much more. Passion, purpose, strong opinions, long conversations, sports, dogs, books. Let it be so. Let us write a better ending."
In the work, he imagined that Stone would have become an author and commentator, while Holt would have been elected to Congress. As the poem concludes, he imagines the two sharing breakfast in a favorite diner, retired from successful careers.
"When someone dies this young, it's not just a loss in the fact that you won't see them again — it's also the future they could have had," Lou Weeks said. "So you are grieving for them and their future as well."
A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday at the National Cathedral, located at 3101 Wisconsin Ave., Northwest, in Washington, D.C.