Collier school mourns the loss of teenager killed in rollover weekend crash

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Teammates of fallen track athlete Brook Rice set up a memorial outside Saint John Neumann High School Monday morning.

16-year-old Rice died over the weekend in a crash along a road in Collier County.

“I didn’t want to believe it. I was told by a friend. It seemed so surreal that something like this would happen at such a young age,” said friend Ashley De Armas.

Students at the high school came together for a vigil Monday morning. There was hugging, crying, lighting candles in honor of Rice and a lot of reflection on a life taken too soon.

“I was scrolling through Instagram and I saw a post about her and I just went out in my living room and started crying,” said friend Peighton Grucci.

Collier County Sheriff’s deputies say Rice died in a rollover crash on Livingston Woods Lane. Three other teenagers were injured in the crash and taken to the hospital for treatment, but Rice was the only fatality.

“She’s just an amazing person and it’s sad to see her go,” Grucci said.

Rice was not only a good person and friend, but a talented athlete.

“Brooke is the one when you tell her to jump, she asks how high. Brooke is the one who never gives up,” said soccer coach Adam Koszo.

Koszo coached Rice and says she could have had a bright future in sports.

“It’s like a bad dream you just want to wake up from and just meet here here 8:30 in the morning and start practice,” Koszo said.

And her teammates are wishing the same things.

“For our cross country and track teams I feel like we’ll put something on our jerseys to remember her by. It’s just going to be really hard not seeing her at practice everyday,” Grucci said.

Koszo adds that the school is looking to set up a scholarship fund in Rice’s name, and is even considering retiring her jersey number—7.

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