BROOMFIELD, Colo. — The Legacy High School community is mourning the loss of one of its own after a driver hit and killed a 16-year-old student on Saturday afternoon.
The school opened its doors for hundreds of grieving students and their parents to come together to console each other on Sunday.
Neither the school nor the coroner has confirmed the identity of the victim, but friends said it was junior Jory Coates.
Hundreds packed into the school’s auditorium to grieve the sudden death of the bright teenager. The 16-year-old died instantly Saturday about 11:40 a.m.
The Westminster Police Department said the driver of an SUV drove up onto a raised median where Coates stood with his bike waiting to cross at West 112the Avenue and Federal Boulevard.
Police say the driver had also sideswiped another car about nine blocks away on West 103th Avenue and Federal Boulevard, then drove off.
Coates’ Facebook page shows a fun, smiling, seemingly carefree and popular teenager who had a talent for playing the saxophone in Legacy High School’s band.
One band member described Coates’ death as devastating. A pastor who was at the school to offer grief counseling described the sad gathering inside the school.
“Lot of tears, a lot of sniffling. Right now, the students are going around hugging the family members and looking at photos onstage. It a very somber mood. Most of them lost someone they’re very close to. When you are in band, that’s a family. And the school already has undergone so much tragedy this year,” said Pastor Keith Baldridge of The Living Stone Church.
In September, bus driver Kari Chopper was killed and 18 others were injured when the bus carrying members of the school’s football team crashed at Denver International Airport.
Police have not charged the driver who killed Coates. They said drugs and alcohol are not suspected, but they are looking into the possibility the driver had a medical emergency.
The Adams 12 Five Star Schools District had its crisis team at the school to meet with parents and staff, and they’ll be back again Monday when students return.
A GoFundMe account called the Jory Coates Funeral/Memorial Fund has been set up and raised over $11,000 in about 12 hours.
The account was set up by Cherie Eastburn Coates.
“While there are no words to adequately convey how much he means to us, we can show this precious family how much we love and support them by taking the burden of final expenses from them and allowing them to focus on their memories while they grieve the loss of their son/brother,” Cherie Coates wrote.