The sister of a LaGrange man who died last week on the same road in Penobscot County where their mother was killed in a car crash a week earlier said her brother’s death was not an accident.

“It was intentional,” Brooke Gardner, the lead pastor at the New Life Old Town Church & Cafe, said during an interview Sunday night. “I know this because I know my brother. He knew exactly what he was doing. My brother wanted to be with his mom in heaven.”

Her brother, 35-year-old Alexander S. Gardner, died late last week after his pickup truck hit a tree on Route 16 in Alton. The wreck was discovered by a passing motorist about 9:30 a.m. Friday roughly a mile from the spot where his mother was killed a week earlier.

Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said in a statement Friday that Gardner’s truck “slammed into a large tree at a high rate of speed on a curve on Route 16.” His mother, 63-year-old Robin M. Gardner, died Nov. 24 after being involved in a head-on collision on Route 16.

Tyler Creighton, 25, of Medford was identified by police as the driver of the SUV that crossed the centerline before hitting Robin Gardner’s Ford Escape head-on. Creighton was later charged with manslaughter. WCSH-TV reported that Creighton admitted to police he was under the influence, was texting, and had been at a methadone clinic before the fatal crash.

The loss of their beloved mother has been hard on everyone in the Gardner family, but took a particularly harsh toll on Alex, who was single and lived alone.

“He was very close to her,” Brooke Gardner explained. “Not being able to protect our mom, it was difficult for him. He just didn’t want to live his life without her.”

Gardner, who officiated at her mother’s funeral Sunday, is expecting to do the same for her brother, whose funeral will be held at the New Life Church on Dec. 10 at 10:30 a.m.

Gardner described her brother as a kind and generous soul who “would give you the shirt off his back.” He liked to drop off Christmas presents to local children who were too poor to get gifts and he would sponsor Easter egg hunts for local children.

While her family mourns the death of two members, Gardner said they are also struggling to make sense of how such a tragedy could befall one family.

“I like to say that God can take the broken pieces and he can make something beautiful out of it,” she said.

Brooke Gardner said her faith will help her overcome her family’s loss.

“Life can bring change and you can live in defeat or you can choose to live fully. I choose to live fully,” she said.

Robin Gardner was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, and enjoyed reading the Bible each morning, according to her obituary. She was involved with the Old Town YMCA, where she overcame walking with a cane to become a fitness instructor. She is survived by her husband of 39 years, Gary Gardner, and her two daughters, Celeste Creighton and Brooke Gardner. About 300 people attended her funeral, which was held Sunday morning at the New Life Church.