Wednesday was a quiet and somber day for those at Shallowater High School as many mourned the loss of a fellow student.
The campus was still in shock after learning 16-year-old Loran Coats had been killed Tuesday night. Deputies say she was driving on FM 179 when, for some unknown reason, she jerked the steering wheel to the right and overcorrected, causing her pickup to roll several times. Deputies say she was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the truck as it rolled.
To honor Loran, many of her closest friends turned her empty school parking spot into a memorial with messages saying "I love you," "You will be missed" and "Rest in Peace."
Inside, the high school hallways and classrooms remained quiet, especially in the band hall where Loran had spend much of her time. "I keep looking at the clock and just a little more than 24 hours ago, Loran was here playing her flute," Shallowater band director Don Summersgill said. "It's still kind of hard to think that's not going to happen anymore."
Summersgill had known Loran for four years and said that Wednesday was one of the hardest days in his 30-year career. "It reminds us all to always tell our kids that we care for them. The first thing I told the kids this morning is they mean so much to us as teachers and without them, the joy of teaching isn't there," Summersgill said.
Besides playing the flute, Loran was also a member of the flag corps and the golf team. Students described Loran as a beautiful young woman who was always positive and a hard worker.
Later Wednesday evening, students will hold a candlelight vigil in Loran's honor.
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