KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE)- A family in Knoxville is mourning the loss of Eli Humphrey, 6, of Powell who died in a car crash along Raccoon Valley Drive on Wednesday. Eli’s mom Kristin Humphrey is in the hospital with serious injuries from the crash.
“We don’t believe that God does anything without a purpose, without reason,” said Billy Bell, Eli’s great grandfather. “So our prayer is that his death would bring glory to God, and I believe it will. I believe there’s something that the Lord wants to do because of what happened to Eli.”
According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Kristin Humphrey hit a curve and lost control of her car. The family says Kristin Humphrey is a single parent working to make ends meet, and she does not have any insurance. She remains hospitalized in the trauma unit ICU.
“Her kids are her life, and Eli was her life,” said Judy Bell, about her granddaughter Kristin Humphrey. “She had 14 cracks in her ribs, and so they put plates and pins. The doctor told me a little while ago they went in the front, they went in the back, and everything’s going to be okay.”
Eli’s great grandparents say they were very close with the first-grader, who went to Claxton Elementary School. Billy and Judy Bell said they were proud of their first great grandchild, who had just been named a Student of the Month. They said Eli’s father died when he was three years old.
“Eli was my best buddy, he was my sidekick” Billy Bell said. “I’d be upstairs and he would holler ‘papaw’ and I’d say, ‘who is that down there,’ and he said, ‘it’s your best buddy,’ and so we just really from the start just spent a lot of time together.”
Billy said he will miss hearing Eli call out as he walked in their front door. Judy Bell said she will miss Eli’s hugs.
“He’d come in the door and he’d hug me and say ‘oh mamaw I’ve missed you,’ and maybe I just saw him the day before, you know.”
Humphrey’s sister has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for Eli’s funeral and medical costs. Learn more about that here.
“I’m a giver,” said Billy Bell. “I like to give, but you have to humble yourself also at times when you need to receive.”