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Friends, family hold prayer vigil for Collier teen killed in weekend crash

Posted at 6:18 PM, Jul 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-02 18:24:48-04

Friends and family are mourning the loss of a Collier County teen who died in a crash over the weekend. Brooke Rice, 16, was seriously hurt after the vehicle in which she was riding with friends rolled over on Livingston Woods Lane in North Naples on Saturday. Three other girls were also hurt, but Rice later died of her injuries.

Hundreds gathered Monday morning for a prayer vigil at St. John Neumann High School, where Rice was a student and athlete on the track team.

"In her short life, she made quite an impact," said Reverend Michael Orsi, chaplain at St. John Neumann. "She was certainly somebody who Neumann High School was very proud of."

Jermain Washington, Rice's former track coach, said Rice tackled life as if nothing was impossible. 

"She ran like the wind," Washington said. "You probably won't see anything like that for a long time."

He said he heard about Rice's death from one of his former athletes.

"I was kind of numb," he said, describing the moments after he heard the news.

He said the prayer vigil at the school was the beginning of a difficult healing process for many of Rice's friends and family.

"I just walked up to her parents and held them as tight as I could," Washington said. "It was a blessing."

He said while he was Rice's coach, he's determined to learn something from her.

"One thing about Brooke I remember was her just attacking everything in life, her smiling," he said. "Her saying, 'let's go coach, we've got this.'"