Beloved female football player, 17, killed by drunk driver in Florida
A beloved member of a Florida high school football team who planned on joining the Marines after graduating was hit and killed by a drunk driver while riding her bike last weekend.
Sophia Delott, 17, was struck by 69-year-old Neil Singhal around 10:30 p.m. on June 28 when the suspect allegedly veered into the bike lane on the Indian Rocks Causeway Bridge, WTVT reports.
Delott, a member of the Seminole High School Warhawks football team, was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she died from her injuries.
Authorities reportedly discovered an open bottle of vodka in Singhal's BMW and said he appeared intoxicated at the scene of the crash. The suspect was charged with DUI manslaughter and is currently being held on a $200,000 bond, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
Photo: Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Following the news of the tragic incident, Delott's coach, Chris Miller, took to Facebook to mourn the community's loss.
"It is with an extremely heavy heart and incredible sadness that I write this post," he wrote. "Last night, one of our own was taken from us by a drunk driver. Sophie was a Warhawk through and through. She was a Marine. Most of all, she was our family."
Delott, who played safety on her team, was notably its only female member.
"She asked not to be treated differently, so we didn't treat her differently," Miller told WTVT. "She quietly earned the respect of everyone on the team."
"She just meant so much to us and this whole football program," Bruno Boyens, one of Delott's team members, echoed. "She brought out the orange and green like no one else could."
A GoFundMe page to benefit Delott's family has raised over $11,900 of its $20,000 goal and has elicited a flood of comments from friends, teachers and even strangers paying tribute to the young victim.
"Sophia was my daughters best friend," one donor wrote. "She brought so many positive thoughts and laughter to her. My heart goes out to Sophia's family, no parent should ever have to endure this kind of pain."
"Sophie was a really great friend of mine," wrote Jamee Bjerk. "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. 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."