FORNEY (CBSDFW.COM) – The community of Forney is mourning the death of a 14-year-old softball player after a tragic accident at a team event. Emily Galiano was run over by a vehicle on Tuesday. Students at Forney High School on Wednesday morning took time to remember the teen.
The Lady Jackrabbits softball team had gathered at a home for a team dinner on the night before they were scheduled to play in the regional semifinals. But, at about 8:00 p.m. as the players were loading up to leave, Galiano was hit by a car, according to a representative with the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office.
The teen was taken to a hospital in Dallas in critical condition. She later died from her injuries.
Still in her freshman year, Galiano had already proven herself a valuable member of the varsity softball team. Head Coach Pat Eitel says for someone so young, she could deliver in the clutch.
“She was a great kid, loved and very passionate about softball, very dedicated family person,” Coach Eitel said.
Investigators tell CBS11, on the eve of the team’s semi-final game, a team dinner at a player’s home turned tragic when a vehicle accidentally ran over Galiano. Neighbors watched in horror as first responders tried to save the teen. The school district tells CBS11 it was a fellow player behind the wheel, making the tragedy even more traumatic for team members.
“We all were one big family, and they stuck together. They had each other’s back, and I think that’s part of how they’re coping right now,” Eitel said.
Within that team family was Galiano’s twin sister, who tweeted, “…I lost my best friend, sister, wombmate, teammate…”
“They’ve played ball ever since they could walk, so it’s a tough time for them right now,” Eitel said.
That’s why the coach left it up to the team whether to go on with their season reminding players there are bigger things than softball. Now the team plans to play on as tribute to the fallen outfielder.
“It’s a loss, but they’re looking at it as they’re going to try to celebrate somebody’s life instead of being the sorrow for it, and I can’t be more proud of a bunch of kids than what I saw after the tragedy,” Eitel said.
Many people have taken to social media as a way to remember Galiano’s kind demeanor, and offer prayers for her family.
School counselors and chaplains immediately visited the home where the tragedy took place, to provide grief counseling. They will continue to be made available for students and staff members all week long. A group prayer was also held Wednesday at the school’s indoor training facility. Many students wore white clothes in Galiano’s honor.
“It’s been hard for pretty much everyone,” said student Tamarity Vaughn on Wednesday. “She had a great personality and she was very sweet.”
“We are all just in mourning state,” added classmate Prince Udenze. “Everybody’s just praying, praying to God, people are sad and grieving and mourning.”
“Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with the family during this very difficult time,” the Forney Independent School District said in a statement. “Please keep our student and the family in your heart and in your prayers.”
Meanwhile, the softball team’s regional semifinal game against Mansfield Lakeridge has been postponed following this tragic accident. Officials have not yet determined a new date and time for the matchup.