Seven-year-old Savario Tyson Gambrell Jr.’s final act was one of love and devotion to his baby brother.

That’s the lasting image his mother, Teyonna Taylor, said Tuesday she will have of her oldest son, who was killed in a car crash on Asheville Highway in Spartanburg on Sunday morning.

“When they pulled him out of the car, he just had (his brother) embraced,” Taylor said. “They were sitting on two separate sides of the car, and there was a lot of spinning, but I think it was his first instinct to reach out and grab his brother. He loved him so much.”

Taylor said Gambrell Jr.’s friends and family knew him as TJ, and she said her son was set to turn 8 years old soon. He’d just been accepted into a Greenville-area magnet school, Taylor said, and she had high hopes for a young man who’d always been such a help to his mother.

“He was like my best friend,” Taylor said. “We did everything together, and he helped in every way he could — around the house, cleaning, grocery shopping. He was always looking out for other people.”

The South Carolina Highway Patrol said Monday the crash that claimed Gambrell’s life occurred near White Avenue at around 11:22 a.m. Sunday.

Savario Gambrell, 27, of Greenville, was driving a 2000 Honda west on Asheville Highway when troopers said he lost control, traveled off the road to the right, hit a curb, traffic sign and a power pole.

Troopers said Gambrell and a passenger were transported to the hospital, where the 7-year-old later died from his injuries.

Savario Gambrell was charged with reckless driving.

“Right now, it still seems unreal,” Taylor said. “He was always there with me, with his baby brother, Navario.”

Taylor said soon she’ll need to find a way to explain to her youngest son what happened Sunday, how much his brother loved him and wanted to be there for him.

“He loved his brother, his dad, his family so much,” Taylor said. “I don’t know if it will ever come back together for me. I just hope that people are much more careful on the road — it was raining so hard Sunday.”

A candlelight vigil was planned for Tuesday night at Cleveland Park in Greenville.

“Sometimes it feels like my heart has stopped,” Taylor said.