MERIDEN — City native Jaylon-Devine William Nixon was killed in a Sunday car crash on Research Parkway.
Nixon, 18, was a student at Southern Connecticut State University and member of the men’s swimming and diving team. He graduated from Maloney High School in 2019.
In high school, Nixon was an All-Record-Journal and All-Conference linebacker on the Maloney football team, including the one that reached the 2018 Class L state championship game. He was also a diver that set records on Meriden’s co-op team.
Co-op swim coach Ed Heath said he enjoyed the hours he spent working with Nixon one on one. In his decades of coaching, Heath said he hasn’t met many other students like Nixon.
“He was truly a scholar and a gentlemen, he was an overwhelming nice kid,” he said. “He was always polite, and always nice … And truly wanted to make people happy.”
Heath said Nixon loved to be on the diving board and worked hard at the sport. Even though diving can be dangerous, he said Nixon had a willingness to have fun doing it.
Maloney football coach Kevin Frederick said Nixon was a great person to have on and off the field and the closest thing to a son Frederick had.
“Jaylon was the ultimate friend, the ultimate teammate, he had a great spirit about him,” Frederick said. “When I tell you everyone loves him, I don’t know there’s anyone who didn’t like the kid.”
Frederick said Nixon was a huge part of the 2018 team that reached the state championship game. He recalled Nixon walking off the field with his jersey torn after a playoff game. Frederick knew he had given it his all.
“He just played with such passion and he just worked so hard,” he said.
When Nixon was injured and couldn’t play his sophomore year, Frederick said he still helped out at practice and attended games to support his teammates. Frederick, a special education teacher at the school, said Nixon would often stop by his classroom to say hello to the special needs students.
Maloney Athletic Director Bob McKee said Nixon was beloved by staff and students.
“He was just a good spirited kid, an infectious personality … He was just a great person all around,” McKee said.
McKee said counselors are available at the school for students.
Nixon died in a crash that occurred near Murdock Avenue at approximately 4 a.m. Police found a 2003 Honda Accord rolled over on the northbound side of the road and a 2007 Toyota Scion off the right side of the southbound lane.
Nixon, driving the Scion, had been partially ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Lt. John Mennone. The operator of the Toyota was transported to MidState Medical Center with serious injuries.
A GoFundMe page has been set up “to support scholarships in the sports that (Nixon) loved being a part of such as swimming and football, and also to provide support to his family.” The page collected more than $19,000 in about 16 hours.
Frederick said a vigil is being organized for Thursday at 7 p.m. at Maloney High School, 121 Gravel St.
Southern Connecticut State University issued a statement on Nixon’s passing.
“Southern Athletics is devastated to learn of Jaylon’s passing,” Director of Athletics Jay Moran said. “My heart breaks when a young person loses their life too soon. Our thoughts are with Jaylon’s family, his friends and his Owl teammates during this very difficult time.”
Police ask anyone with information about the incident to contact Sgt. Christopher Griffin at email@example.com or by calling 203-630-6345.