Parachute teen dies in auto accident
PARACHUTE – Misty Young, a 17-year-old junior at Grand Valley High School, died in a one-car accident on an icy county road Tuesday night.She was a passenger in a truck driven by Megan Braby, 17, a GVHS senior, who was treated for minor injuries and released at Grand River Medical Center in Rifle.Braby lost control of her truck on an icy snow-covered stretch of County Road 103 about two and a half miles east of Battlement Mesa, according to a Colorado State Patrol press release.The truck skidded off the road at a sharp left hand curve and rolled down a steep embankment. According to the CSP, neither Young nor Braby were wearing seat belts, and Young was partially ejected from the car.Many students at GVHS had already heard about the accident Wednesday morning.”It’s a small community and news travels fast,” said high school counselor Anna Whitmore.The rest of the students heard about the accident at an all-school assembly.”The atmosphere today is very subdued and kind of somber,” Principal Larry Brady said. “This has really affected the whole school.” Young was well-liked and well-known, he said. Brady said a memorial service is tentatively scheduled for Monday in the high school gymnasium.”Misty was involved in a lot of activities at school,” he said. “She was the manager for the wrestling team. She was a friendly, happy kid who you rarely saw without a smile. She had a lot of close friends here.”She also had close friends in Rifle, where she played three years on the Rifle High School softball team because GVHS doesn’t have a team. Young was so dedicated to the sport and her parents were so supportive that they drove her to practice and picked her up every day in Rifle, said Rifle softball coach Cindy Skinner.”Misty would play anywhere,” she said. “She was a pitcher. She would play outfield, second base. She was a lot of fun.”Skinner applauded Young’s dedication and said the team was going to present Young’s family with an athletic letter for her participation on the junior varsity team.”She stuck it out for three years,” she said. “There was a time she was stuck waiting for the bus to pick her up because we forgot to tell her the game was canceled. Coming from a different school and fitting in right away – she was unique.”Members of the softball team gathered with Skinner Wednesday. They wrote cards to Young’s family and shared the good memories they had with their teammate.”She really affects two communities,” said Skinner, who is also a counselor at Rifle. “That poor community (Parachute) has suffered so much.”Young’s death is one of several tragedies that have struck Parachute recently. In October, eighth-grader Joe Cain died of complications from stomach surgery. In July, 9-year-old Taylor DeMarco was shot and killed. Two years ago, a boy was killed in an accidental shooting over spring break and another boy died in a car accident about four years ago, Brady said.”The community really feels impacted by this,” Whitmore said.Young’s father, Steve, is the coach for the eighth-grade boys basketball team, and she had a sister in the freshman class and another in seventh grade.”It’s a lot like when Joe Cain died,” Brady said. “Their is a lot of grief and suffering.”Deb Cain, Joe’s mother, is a counselor at Bea Underwood Elementary School and spent most of the day Wednesday helping out at the high school.”There has always been a lot of support in this community for happy times and especially for tragedy,” Cain said. “When my son Joe died – I don’t know if other communities have that kind of support; I’m sure they do. That outpouring was such a beautiful thing. You really see it when something horrific like this happens and it makes you feel so joyful, thankful and just appreciative.”She said she talked to students about the stages of grieving and urged them to be understanding of each other as everyone works through different stages at different times.Both Cain and Whitmore said students were not blaming the accident on Braby Wednesday. No ticket was issued Tuesday night, though State Patrol captain Rich Duran said the accident is still under investigation.”It was just a freak accident,” Cain said. “There’s a real bad ‘S’ curve there. Several people today have expressed concern that there should be a guard rail there. I think it would be an awesome tribute to Misty and Megan, whose life will be changed forever, to a guard rail up there.”Marvin Stephens, the Garfield County Road and Bridge director, said he would investigate that stretch of road to see if a guard rail would be needed. He said he didn’t remember hearing any requests for a guard rail at that location in his 33 years with Road and Bridge, but that that doesn’t necessarily mean there haven’t been any. Contact Amanda Holt Miller at 625-3245 ext. email@example.com
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