FREEPORT, Ill. (WTVO) — Tragedy struck in the final days of 2022 as one Freeport resident was hit and killed by a car on December 30th. The 22-year-old was identified as Kody Newman, lead singer for local band Backhand Betrayal.

Best Friend Zack Parkinson, who is the drummer for the band spoke about receiving the heartbreaking news.

“His older brother texted me and I was in absolute shock and I couldn’t open my eyes, if this was real or not. It was, it just feels like a nightmare,” Parkinson said.

Newman lived at home with his mom, stepdad, brother, and sister. Those close to him said his life’s passion was music.

“He usually enjoyed just being with friends and pretty much after we graduated just going to concerts together is where we pretty much grew up and he pretty much inspired all of us into heavy metal, heavy rock,” Parkinson said.

“We always got lost in talking about music. He had a lot of potential and talent. He was one of the nicest guys you would ever meet,” said friend Shawn Dotson. “I planned on putting him on bills (shows) with us. That guy had soo much drive and passion for music.”

The outpouring of support for family and friends has meant so much, as it has shown the reach Kody had on the community.

“I wouldn’t say it’s unreal, but it just grows a community of what tragically happened. And it really warms my heart just to see everyone supporting us,” Parkinson said.

Newman had big hopes for Backhand Betrayal. Now the band will release their first EP in honor of Kody, a project he was a part of for its entirety.

“Our EP that’s coming out this spring. I know it is, it’s a little bit evil and the lyrics aren’t, positive or anything, but it just describes him and the band and we’re just keeping that all in his honor,” Parkinson said.

A visitation will be held on January 7th from 9 am to 11:30 am at Burke Tubbs, the address is 504 N Walnut Ave, Freeport. A lunch will follow at 12 pm located at Ciminos, located at 421 Challenge St, Freeport.

Family and Friends say you can honor Kody by wearing black or blue jeans with your favorite concert shirt to the upcoming events. Something Kody would wear all the time no matter the occasion.