DES MOINES, Iowa -- Nearly a month ago, 18-year-old Lincoln High School student Malik Rucker was killed in a car accident when his father was at the wheel. Now, his family is speaking out about the loss and how they're remembering the teen.
They say it was bittersweet returning to Harmon Park--Malik's favorite park--on the south side of Des Moines.
"We'd actually come out to this park right here and we would play basketball all the time, we'd go out, we'd ride bikes," said Qentin Wellmaker, Malik's cousin.
"He was the best cousin ever. We would always play 2K in his room," said another cousin, Jordan Rucker.
All that's left for the family now are memories. Malik's father was driving on Highway 5 when his SUV slid on ice and flipped over into a ditch.
"So we go to the crash site, we were there, we were getting all the bags, and I see the car, it's all flipped over," said Qentin.
The Iowa State Patrol says Malik was not wearing a seatbelt.
"He was the first person I really lost that I was really close to, and, you know, it's horrible to go through and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy," said Daron Rucker.
Malik's family now clings to pictures of the teen.
"Funniest person you'll probably ever meet, always happy and brought a smile to your face every time you were with him," said Jacoby Wellmaker.
Malik was an avid basketball player, just months away from graduating high school.
"He was literally a few weeks away from prom, he had his prom stuff picked out, you know, and he had his whole life ahead of him," said Daron.
Even though Malik's life was cut short, his cousins aim to touch the lives of others just like their older cousin.
"It's unfortunate that he has to be gone for us to realize the type of impact that he had on people, but to see how many people's lives that he touched is really giving me and family peace," said Daron.
A basketball tournament in honor of Malik will be held at Lincoln High School at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday.