Austin Woolwine

Austin Woolwine

Austin Woolwine was ready to become a father.

As reported by the Elkhart Truth, he had moved into a new apartment in Goshen, Ind., with his girlfriend, Kynadee Schutz, and her 2-year-old daughter, Liberty. He had just started work in the axle department of Lippert Components Inc. and wanted to make a good impression.

“He didn’t want to let anybody down,” said Dawn Woolwine Kohler, Austin’s sister. “He was trying to raise a little girl. I mean, he was trying to do right by her.”

But on Tuesday morning (May 19), Austin got sick at work and could not stop vomiting, Kohler said. He texted Kynadee to let her know he was taking the day off and would see her when she got home.

But he never did.

Austin was involved in a crash with two other vehicles at 7:37 a.m. at the intersection of C.R. 10 and C.R. 17 in Elkhart and was airlifted to Memorial Hospital of South Bend with a traumatic head injury.

He died of injuries at 2:50 a.m. Wednesday. He would have been 20 in less than two weeks.

Austin’s parents died while he was in high school — Bobby Woolwine when Austin was 13 and Norma Woolwine when he was 15.

Austin continued to struggle with those losses, said friend and bandmate Armando Gonzales.

“He took (his father’s death) really hard and then his mom died,” Gonzales said. “Every time he heard an old country song on the radio … he would start crying.”

Kohler, who had left home and started her own family, offered to take care of Austin after their parents died. He became like a son to her and an older brother to her children.

“He would be the first one to greet me at my door when I come home every day,” she said. “He’d give me a hug and a kiss on the cheek and say, ‘I love you, sis.’”

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