Marines-Bound Female Football Player, 17, Tragically Killed by Suspected Drunk Driver in Florida
"Sophie was a Warhawk through and through. She was a Marine. Most of all, she was our family," head football coach Chris Miller said of Sophia Delott, who was fatally struck on Friday night
A Florida community is in mourning after a teen, who was the only female player on her high school’s football team and had recently enlisted in the Marines, was tragically killed this weekend.
Sophia Delott’s friends, family and teammates have been left heartbroken after the 17-year-old was fatally struck on Friday night in Indian Rocks, Florida by a suspected drunk driver, according to her football team.
“It is with an extremely heavy heart and incredible sadness that I write this post,” head coach Chris Miller wrote on the team’s Facebook on Saturday morning.
“Last night, one of our own was taken from us by a drunk driver,” Miller continued. “Sophie was a Warhawk through and through. She was a Marine. Most of all, she was our family.”
Police said the fatal incident happened around 10:30 p.m. while Delott was riding her bike in a designated lane on a causeway bridge in Indian Rocks, Fox 13 reports.
As she was pedaling, a driver of a BMW, whom police identified as Neil Singhal, allegedly swerved into the bike lane and sent Delott flying through the air, according to the outlet.
Though she was immediately transported to a local hospital, it was unfortunately too late for the Seminole High School student, as Delott later died from her injuries.
Authorities on the scene reportedly found an open bottle of vodka in Singhal’s BMW and noted that the Indian Rocks native appeared to be impaired at the time of the deadly crash, Fox 13 reports.
Singhal was charged with DUI manslaughter and is currently being held on a $200,000 bond, according to Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office inmate records.
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Delott, a safety for the Seminoles, was the only female player on her team, but never let it interfere with the game, according to Miller.
“She asked not to be treated differently, so we didn’t treat her differently,” he told Fox 13. “She quietly earned the respect of everyone on the team.”
Bruno Boyens, one of Delott’s teammates, also added to the outlet, “She just meant so much to us and this whole football program. She brought out the orange and green like no one else could.”
Her impact extended far beyond her teammates, as well.
Delott, who planned to serve in the Marines after high school, also stood out to her future employers, including recruiter Sgt. Paul Dingess.
“I wanted her to do well, and I knew she was going to — we all saw that,” he told Fox 13. “And it’s a big loss because I know the potential she had just in my short time I had with her.”
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Since the tragedy, a GoFundMe account has been set up to assist Delott’s family. It has raised over $5,400 in just two days.
Aside from donating money, many have also used the platform to share their fondest memories of the teen.
“She was a beautiful and unique person,” one person noted, while another added, “She was a great kid; a true warrior destined for a journey to defend her country.”
“She was genuinely one of the kindest and sweetest people I have ever met in my life, and it’s beyond devastating that she was robbed of the rest of her life,” one of her friends wrote. “She had so much potential and it’s so hard to believe and process the fact that she’s gone. She was a selfless person, and was nothing but sweet and caring to everyone she met.”