8-year-old killed in football team bus crash died doing what he loved, mother says

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A serious bus crash near Hamlet, North Carolina, killed four people this weekend. The youngest, Darice Hicks, a third grader at Ebenezer Avenue Elementary School. 

The school principal said 8-year-old Darice will be remembered for his humor and his bright smile. It's those kind words that are helping the young boy's mother as she suffers a terrible loss. 

Courtney Hicks told FOX 46 Charlotte it was the worst phone conversation she's ever had. 

"I said is my baby cold? Because I just wanted to hold him while he was warm and he said 'Yes,'" Hicks explained. 

RELATED: Authorities identify 3 adults, 1 child killed in football team bus crash

Hicks was racing to get to the hospital. She was hours away when she found out her son, Darice, whose nick-name was "Junior" and her husband, Lamont Hicks, had been in a bus crash on Interstate-74 Saturday, near the Town of Hamlet. 

The father and son were traveling with the Ramah Juco Academy Football Team out of Rock Hill, SC on their way to a game in Fayetteville when the crash happened. 

"My husband was right there with him and he held him, and he was like 'They took him out of my arms.' Where's my baby, where's my baby, and she was like 'All I can say is you need to get here as soon as you can,'" Hicks said. 

When Courtney Hicks got to the hospital she found out her son was dead. 

"It's the hardest thing I've ever had to go through, no one expects to have to bury their child, such a tender age. If it wasn't for my faith, I would want to change positions with him," she said. 

Courtney Hicks is finding strength, knowing her son died doing what he loved. Not only did he play football, but he wanted to do everything with his dad, including fishing. But "Junior" especially liked going to football games with his father, a coach for Ramah Juco Academy. 

"He said mom, when they say 38, that's what I do, and I'm going to go through here, and I'm going to shoot up there and I'm going to get a touch down. He's a ball of energy, but that's my baby and I'm going to miss him terribly," Hicks said. 

Extra grief counselors were at the school Monday for students who needed to talk. The following funeral arrangements for Darice "Junior" Hicks have been made.