Funeral held for Eric Paul, victim in pond crash near Top Golf

Reporter: Claire Galt Writer: Carolina Guzman
Published: Updated:

Loved ones had a chance to say a final goodbye to Eric Michael Paul, one of the five teens killed in a crash last week.

In the early morning hours of June 26, Paul and four of his friends were found dead inside a car submerged in a retention pond on Top Golf Way.

Police believe speed was a factor.

The 19-year-old student-athlete had recently graduated from the fire academy.  

On Monday, during the service at Hodges Funeral Home, family and friends gathered to say goodbye.

“When you’re a loving person, like Eric, everybody gravitates, to you,” said Judi Fifer, Eric’s grandmother.

Fifer said that Eric won’t be alone.

“He’s not alone. He, he has all of them. They’re all there together. I hope he’s dancing. He’s having a good time with all five of them,” Fifer said.

Fifer said that Eric would not want to be remembered for how he died. He’d want people to know how he lived.

“Eric would just smile, he would not bring the negative out,” Fifer said.

Fifer said helping was just part of Eric’s nature.

“He’s very helpful. He’s always say, grandma, you know, what do you need help but help you. Even when I had cancer in the chemo, he still came over and he’s like, I’ll do it for you,” Fifer said.

Eric wanted to make a career out of helping others as a firefighter and EMT.

Eric is now at rest, but Fifer said his memory will live on through the fire department, through the football and wrestling teams at East Lee County High School–where he played– and through his family.

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