A teenager who grew up and went to school in Bourne died after his car plunged into a watery ditch on his way home from work.
James Roberts, 18, was pronounced dead at the scene, after his Rover 214 was found upside down in a drainage channel near his home in New York, north Lincolnshire.
He leaves behind an 18- month-old daughter Lily.
The car was found off Hurnbridge Road on Friday morning, shortly after 8.30am, by his parents, Peter and Stella.
They had begun a search for James after he had failed to return to his girlfriend’s home in nearby Coningsby the previous evening and police had been unable to locate him that night.
Mr Roberts, 50, said: “I climbed down to it. I had to smash a window to get in and James was upside down in his seat with his head under water.”
“It was awful. Immediately afterwards, it seemed, the emergency services arrived, but obviously it was too late. They had to lift the car out and cut James out.”
He added: “He had been dead since the night before. I think he had gone off the road about 6pm or 7pm . . . but no-one knew.
“It’s an awful time for us at the moment. It’s just a terrible loss. It’s like a part of us has died as well.”
James grew up in Bourne before the family moved to New York in 2009.
He was a pupil at Robert Manning Technology College, now Bourne Academy.
Bourne Academy headteacher Laurence Reilly said: “It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of James in a car crash.
“James was a quiet, conscientious student who started his secondary school career at what was then The Robert Manning Technology College.
“He was an able, hard-working student and we were disappointed to lose him when he moved away after a successful three years with us. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.’
At the time of his death, James lived at home with his parents in Haven Bank, New York, but was planning to move in with his girlfriend.
His father said: “He was flitting between our house and her’s. He was on the verge of leaving home.”
Mr Roberts said James was enjoying being a dad to Lily and despite his relative youth, had taken to fatherhood with great maturity.
He said: “He was full of joy with his daughter, he really was.
“He was being a real man, living up to his responsibilities and providing for her.”
He described him as a “caring” and “funny lad”, speaking of a “dry sense of humour”.
He said: “He really did have a cracking sense of humour.”
James also leaves behind a sister Elena, 24, and brother David, 22.
James had been working in the call centre of iGO4, an insurance firm based in Staniland Way, Werrington, since December.
Police are appealing to anyone who may have seen the white Rover 214 at any time from Thursday evening last week to call 101.