BATAVIA, OH (FOX19) - A soldier from Clermont County has died in a car crash in Georgia.
Anthony Castelluccio graduated from Glen Este in 2009, where he played football.
Officials say Castelluccio was a passenger in a car driven by Lonnie Cooke, 18. The pair had just finished basic training at Fort Knox in Kentucky and were visiting Cooke's family in the Albany, Ga. area, before taking off to Fort Stewart.
"Everyone loved him because he was not a regular 20-year-old," said Stephanie Castelluccio, Tony's mother.
Tony's parents, Stephanie and Frank, last saw their son Thursday of last week, just days before his death. They watched him and other Army soldiers leave on a bus to Georgia where Tony was going to be based.
"It was the happiest I have ever seen him in his life," said Frank Castelluccio, Tony's father. "He was proud of himself and he was making something of himself, and I was proud of him."
"We always talked about wanting to get out of this place and do something with our lives, he did it, he definitely did it," said Trevor Fehlinger, Tony's friend. "I just know that he is with us right now on our shoulders and we have a guardian angel."
Family members say Tony was a proud uncle and was a stand-out on the football field, playing linebacker at Glen Este High School.
"Tony was a great kid, well liked by everybody. He had a ton of good friends and people that thought an awful lot of him that's why this one's really going to hurt," said Zak Taylor, Tony's football coach.
Outside the Castelluccio house, a sign reads "Our son is Army strong."
"We are still in shock, said Stephanie. "We are just waiting to wake up from a horrible dream."
A candle light vigil will be held for Tony Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Glen Este H.S.
Officials believe Cooke fell asleep behind the wheel, and the car went of the roadway, striking a pecan tree and bursting into flames.