The small North Texas town of Nocona is grieving after a member of their community was killed in a fiery head-on collision in West Texas.
Laci Stone, 18, was riding in a van carrying members of the University of the Southwest men's and women's golf teams when it was struck by a pick-up truck near the community of Andrews, Texas, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
A coach and six members of the team died, along with the driver and a 13-year-old passenger in a Dodge 2500 pick-up truck.
An honors student and athlete, Stone grew up in Nocona and graduated Nocona High School this past spring.
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Her mother, Chelsi Stone, shared her heartbreak on Facebook.
Sharing a story of how Laci convinced her to get matching heart tattoos, the mother wrote, in part, “Our Laci is gone! She has been an absolute ray of sunshine during this short time on earth…We will never be the same…”
“To know Laci is to love her,” said her former coach and teacher Heather Nobile. “Just a wonderful, wonderful person that's going to be missed.”
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Nobile said Laci Stone was voted prom queen her senior year and the entire community of Nocona cherished the honor student and athlete who played golf, basketball, volleyball and softball.
Nocona ISD Athletics announced they were canceling their softball game for Wednesday evening following news of Stone's death.
Colby Schniederjan coached Stone for three years in golf and recalled how she could lighten the mood with just her presence. The coach said they spoke often and she was excelling during her freshman year at college.
“She joked, she sang and she just lived life to the fullest and it’s going to be really hard not to have her around anymore,” Schniederjan said.
Nobile said funeral services are pending, and the community is focused on helping support Stone's family.
“It’s going to be a hard journey for her family, but I think we’re all going to do whatever we can to honor Laci’s memory and to help them get through this horrible time.”