CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Loved ones are remembering a beloved father and football coach who was killed in a tragic crash Wednesday.
Family and friends of Brent Szarzynski, 36, told 8News he was an incredible person, husband, father and friend. Szarzynski was confirmed as the victim of a tragic crash involving a septic truck explosion on Interstate 95.
According to Virginia State Police, a septic truck erupted into flames around noon on Wednesday, Nov. 2, after being hit by I-beams. Police said the beams had fallen off of a Freightliner carrying an over-height load under the Belvidere Street overpass.
The collision of the septic truck and the I-beams caused the truck to flip on its side and catch fire. Szarzynski, the driver of the septic truck, was killed in the crash.
Brent was a devoted father, husband, son, and friend. He was always able to find the light and humor in any situation, always able to make others laugh. His laugh was contagious. He was very proud of his children and always put his wife and kids first, just a genuinely good person who put everyone before himself. He was humble and embraced life. He really did always put Emily first. Emily and the kids were his top priority. He was a wonderful husband and a wonderful man.The Szarzynski Family
Szarzynski was married with three boys. The youngest is just one month old.
Richard Duncan is a friend of Szarzynski’s and is the President of the Old Hundred Athletic Association, a sports organization for the youth in the Midlothian area.
“In the early part of October, he called me and said, ‘Hey, rich, I may miss a practice.’ Brent hates missing practice,” Duncan said. “I said, Brent, why? What’s going on? He said, ‘My wife, we’re having a baby.”
Duncan said he was in quite a different kind of shock when he heard about the crash.
“I got a message from his wife, Emily, and I couldn’t believe it so I called her. I said, ‘This is not true,'” Duncan said. “It was devastating. It’s still devastating. We still do not know how to really cope. We have 22 football players in our 9U team that have questions. Two of those players are his sons.”
Szarzynski was the Defensive Coordinator for their 9 & Under (9U) minors tackle team. According to Duncan, he was all about his family first and then football.
“We’re about community. We’re about family and we’re about the development of our players, and that’s what he exemplified every day on and off the football field,” Duncan said.
Kelly McMackin is Szarzynski’s former co-worker. Her children also play football in the same league that he coached in.
While holding back tears, McMackin said he was, “pure joy,” and, “the world’s nicest person.”
Duncan told 8News, he had a hard conversation with the young football players Wednesday night and went over to Szarzynski’s house to be with his family.
“Just to let them know that your Old Hundred Family is your family. We will uphold Brent’s legacy for life,” Duncan said.
As loved ones continue to grieve, the association is collecting gift cards to help. In addition, a GoFundMe has raised more than $15,000 for the family.
The family asks for privacy as they continue to grieve at this time.