Hundreds of people showed up Wednesday night to a candlelit vigil at Babcock Ranch to remember a teen killed on his way to school.
16-year-old Dane Zigrand was riding in the passenger seat with another teen early Wednesday morning when their car went off the road and flipped over.
Many people saw Dane on Tuesday and even early Wednesday morning. Shannon Treece, the executive director of Babcock Schools, even saw him at the gym at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. She told Zigrand that she will see him at school later but never did.
Wednesday night, more than many people gathered in the school courtyard to lean on each other when they needed it most.
“An amazing, young man. I mean it. When you speak to anybody who’s ever met him, they will tell you he is sunshine… his energy is infectious… he always has a smile,” Treece said.
And as the sunshine sets over the Babcock Ranch community, the closely packed courtyard of people carried a piece of that sunshine with them.
“It’s a shock. It’s an incredible loss. You can’t hear it, but in the background, we’ve kind of turned over our equipment to the teenagers to let them have a space to tell their story. So, you hear laughter and crying. But Dane touched everybody in this community,” Pastor Matt Shapton from the community church said.
Classmates, teachers, family members, and loved ones spent over an hour remembering why they love 16-year-old Dane.
“He just … whenever you’re sad, he’d just bring you right back up, make you happy all over again,” a classmate said.
Dane was a passenger in the car driven by another 16-year-old classmate. The driver lost control, crashing into trees in the median before overturning. He was rushed to the hospital, where he later died.
Everyone gathered Wednesday night, remembering Dane, and did their best to focus on the person considered a bright spot even though his time was cut short.
“I know he’s not here on Earth right now, but soon I’ll see him up in Heaven,” a classmate said.
The executive director of Babcock Schools told WINK News the district’s crisis response team would be at the school as long as they’re needed. They are offering counseling to students and educators as they process the grief.