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Inkster — Hardworking and dedicated to family described Oweeta Wilkins on Sunday night as a community gathered to mourn her and her son after a fatal crash Friday.

The single mother of three rarely asked for help and would give the shirt off her back if someone needed it, said her older sister, Adrena Crowder at a gathering Sunday night near Inkster and Cherry Hill roads, near where the Buick they were in was struck by a police vehicle en route to a crash scene.

“She was always putting everybody before her own self,” Crowder said.

The Inkster residents were on their way to see Wilkin’s daughter, Gia Caple, 20, at her job at the nearby Happy’s Pizza, according to family.

They never made it. According to Michigan State Police, at about 6:30 p.m. Friday, a police SUV was traveling west on Cherry Hill near Inkster Road with lights and sirens activated, en route to a crash scene. At the same time, a Buick was headed east on Cherry Hill and made a left turn in front of the SUV, state police said.

Police said the two were killed instantly. The family Sunday night identified the two as Aaron and Wilkins. A police officer in the SUV was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

About 100 people gathered, some lighting candles in memory of the mother and son. Family, friends and strangers prayed and offered a few words before releasing green balloons into the sky. Afterward, about half the group walked across the street to a roadside memorial where the crash occurred with stuffed animals and pinwheels. 

“I really miss my mom and my brother,” Caple said, crying. “It’s not the same. Home don’t feel like home. I can’t hear my mom’s voice. I can’t feel my baby’s energy anymore. It’s just not the same. I don’t know what to do.”

Wilkins was a single mom who worked hard for her children, said Crowder, including a 12-year-old son.

“I admired her for how hard she worked and how dedicated she was to the family,” she said.

After a long day at work, Wilkins, a factory worker, would go care for her mother, who has stage 4 lung cancer, she said.

“I told her many times how proud I was of her for how she handled her business,” Crowder said.

Aaron was a student at David Hicks Elementary School, his family said. He enjoyed video games, pizza and dancing. He performed some of the latest dance moves in a talent show at school, said his aunt, Jeriesha Wilkins.

Mother and son shared the same witty sense of humor, family members said.

“It’s so devastating for her to be taken out like this,” said family friend Curtis Harris. “It’s hard to wrap your head around.”

Michigan State Police is handling the investigation, which is expected to include a review of dash-cam video footage, the SUV's black box and autopsy results.

cwilliams@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN

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