SPRINGFIELD, Fla. - It was a tragic day for the Rutherford High School community as they mourned the loss of one of their own. On Wednesday, Rutherford senior Kyle DeMaio was killed in a car accident while on a lunch break.
Thursday evening, students, staff, friends, and family all gathered at the school for a candlelight vigil where they spoke about fond memories of Kyle.
"Whenever something like this happens we want to provide space for students to share their feelings, their love and their memories," said Rutherford Principal Coy Pilson.
"Once we heard the news we wanted to recognize Kyle and celebrate his life," said President of the Student Body Acacia Walker.
"I'm going to miss his quiet smile. It was warming to the room and it was part of something we saw everyday and we will miss that," said Kyle's journalism teacher Angela Bryant.
The community wore white to the vigil in honor of Kyle's favorite color.
"In my class, my class is like a family, so you know it's like missing a family member," said Kyle's English teacher, Corrie McPherson.
"He's really shy if you don't know him well. Until you break him out of his shell then he is the kind of guy who always had jokes, you could never have a bad day when you are with Kyle because he always put a smile on your face," said Walker.
Students plan to start a fundraiser for his family to help pay for funeral costs.
"He was one of those students that as a principal, you don't often see because he was quiet and he had done everything he was supposed to do, didn't ruffle any feathers, but the Rutherford community will truly miss him, we are saddened by his passing," said Pilson.
According to law enforcement, a 17-year-old Rutherford student was driving with Kyle DeMaio, who was the passenger on Tyndall Parkway near East 7th Street when the student apparently turned into the path of another vehicle being driven by a 55-year-old man, Bay County Sheriff's deputies wrote in a news release. The student's vehicle was hit on the passenger side and partially ejected Kyle DeMaio, who died from injuries sustained in the crash, deputies wrote. The driver of the student's vehicle has been taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, they added. The driver of the other vehicle was not injured. No criminal charges have been filed at this time.
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