Soldier home for the holidays and his 1-year-old son killed in head-on collision

A Tennessee community is mourning the loss of a soldier and his 1-year-old son who were killed in a head-on car crash Thursday night, WCBY reported.

Anthony Owens, 23, was home visiting his native Unicoi County in Tennessee last week and was driving west along Interstate 26 Thursday night with his 1-year-old son, Richard. That’s where police say they were hit in a head-on automobile collision by 42-year-old Tina Marshall, who was driving the wrong way.

Anthony Owens and his son, Richard. (Photo courtesy of Randy Owens)

Owens was enlisted in the Army — he had recently signed up for three more years of service — and had come home for Christmas to see family.

His parents, Randy and Christy Owens, told WCBY that they were “devastated,” and that the loss was “unbelievable.”

Anthony Owens and his son, Richard. (Photo courtesy of Randy Owens)

"He always did whatever needed to be done in the Army,” Randy said. Christy added that Anthony went above and beyond and that she was very proud.

The Owens said Anthony was always smiling and caring for others, and that his 18-month-old son, Richard, had inherited these personality traits from his father.

Richard Owens. (Photo courtesy of Randy Owens)

"He was my chunky monkey,” Randy told WCBY.

Randy Owens and his grandson, Richard. (Photo courtesy of Randy Owens)

Anthony, who was an Army cook, was on the way to get groceries for a family dinner with Richard in tow when the accident occurred.

"We've been picking at him, telling him he needs to cook for us,” Christy told WCBY.

Anthony was planning on fulfilling his parents’ wish and treating them to a home-cooked meal.

Anthony Owens and his son, Richard. (Photo courtesy of Randy Owens)

The rest of the Unicoi County community, including Anthony’s former teachers at Unicoi County High, are devastated and shocked by the loss and mourn alongside the Owens.

“I just want to Honor my son and grandson,” Randy Owens said. “Anthony was a fun loving man, and my grandson was just like his father. That’s all I want the world to know.”

“And to hold your loved ones closer and tighter,” he added. “Because we don't know what the next minute holds for any of us.”

This story was reported from Los Angeles.