HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Police said Madison city employee Kyle Parker, who had been reported missing earlier in the day, was killed in an accident on Zierdt Road.
Huntsville Police arrived on the scene just after 6:00 pm Wednesday, but officials said the accident happened late Tuesday night. They do no believe foul play was involved.
The Chevrolet Tahoe Parker was driving went down an embankment along Zierdt Road south of Ellsworth Boulevard and struck some trees. There are no guardrails along that stretch of road.
Officials said family members searched the area after Parker did not show up to work Wednesday.
Parker was the Madison City Parks and Recreation Aquatics Director. He had been named one of the city's Employees of the Year in 2012.
Huntsville Police are still investigating the wreck.
"This morning I got in and my inbox was full, just a bunch of people who used our facility emailed me and let me know how sorry they were and how much they're going to miss Kyle."
Madison City Parks and Recreation Director Kory Alfred says he lost much more than a fellow employee Tuesday night.
"He was one of my best friends. He's got regulars that come up here that have known him for 15 years. You know, he's always been the first one to deal with patron complaints, always the first one to ask them how they're doing every day," Alfred remembers.
Parker dedicated his entire adult life to Dublin Park. Parker began as a teenage intern and lifeguard at Dublin pool. Parker's Dublin family decided to take the day off Thursday to grieve with their own families.
"We've got a lot of young people who are lifeguards for us. Probably some of them never dealt with anything like this and I wasn't, number one, going to risk public safety by putting anybody in the chair that wasn't mentally in the right condition to be there."
The waters Kyle Parker once watched over will soon come alive again, but Kory Alfred says Dublin Park will really never be the same.
"You can bring someone in for the position but they're not going to do it like Kyle did. For me, every morning he'd come in and rehash the baseball or football or basketball or whatever game happened that night for 15 minutes -- now I'm going to come to work and -- that's not going to be there. I'm just devastated."
Visitation for Kyle Parker will be held Saturday from 11a.m. to 1p.m. at Asbury United Methodist Church in Madison, with funeral to follow.