17-year-old Trista Shoemaker died Saturday afternoon when investigators say an SUV ran a red light at an intersection in Franklin County and hit her car.
As a student athlete for the Western Hills High School volleyball team, Shoemaker was an intense competitor, but as a friend to her teammates she was equally passionate in her encouragement. "She always knew what to say even if you were having a really bad day," friend and teammate Jessica Wilburn said.
That's why Wilburn says now is when they need Trista most. The young athlete was killed when another driver crashed into her at the intersection of Green Wilson Road and
U.S.-127 in Franklin County, bringing an end to a promising future in life and on the volleyball court Trista loved. "It meant everything to her," Wilburn said of Trista's love for the game, "She had a dream that she wanted to go play for UK, and that was her goal. She wanted to do anything just to make sure that she could play."
"She was somebody that just really touched my heart," Trista's coach Kristi Buffenmyer said. In the years Coach Buffenmyer watched Trista grow, she came to appreciate Trista's spirit as much as her ability. "It didn't matter who was playing or if she was playing or if she was over here on the bench with us," Buffenmyer said, "she was cheering on every single person that was on the court all the time, and I think that that was the loss that the team is going to feel the most."
"It's going to be really hard," Wilburn said, "especially whenever we have games, and we're not going to be able to have Trista there cheering for us."
Coach Buffenmyer tells NEWSFIRST school officials plan to have counselors available for students Monday morning to help them through this tragedy.
Shoemaker's younger sister was riding with her and suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Police have not identified the driver of the SUV.
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