Memorial Fund Info, Please Help!
Below Article by Jeffrey Javier - Nov. 17, 2008 07:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
Kelly Tracy was filled with musical talent. She played numerous percussion instruments from the xylophone to the timpani in the Highland High School marching band. She also performed on the flute and guitar, and dabbled with piano. She composed her own worship songs for the City of Grace Church in Mesa.
She dreamt of going to college in Australia to become a pastor, Kelly's mother, Cindy Tracy said.
The teen's dreams were cut short Saturday because of fatal injuries she suffered in a car crash on her way to perform with her marching band in the Gilbert Days Parade.
Sgt. Ed Wessing, a Mesa police spokesman, said Manuel Contreras-Galdean, 32, was driving impaired at about 6:30 a.m. when he turned a red Dodge Ram left in front of a Nissan Sentra carrying Kelly and her brother, Matthew who was driving. Their collision at Guadalupe and Sossaman roads was nearly head-on. Matthew was sent to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries. Kelly was transported to the hospital where she died of serious head trauma.
Contreras-Galdean was arrested and charged with one count of manslaughter and one count of aggravated assault. Authorities also placed an immigration hold on him after it was determined that he is in the country illegally.
Family and friends couldn't believe what happened.
"She was a beautiful person and full of talent," Cindy Tracy said. "She loved people and cared about them and she was very devoted to God."
The City of Grace Church held a service Saturday night for the family and since then support has been coming from other band families and community members.
By Sunday afternoon a small make-shift memorial formed outside Highland High School, a mile west of the crash site. Next to a side entrance, some 50 feet from the marching band's trailer, was a photo of Kelly, her long blond hair pulled halfway back as she played a xylophone. Next to the picture, a burning candle and a teddy bear with a black Highland High baseball cap. "In Memory of Kelly Tracy" was written in blue on white paper and taped to the brick exterior of the building. Kelly was a Highland High sophomore.
"It's so hard to believe that she was killed," said Maureen Allison, a drumline mom and vice president of the Highland High Marching Band Boosters. "It shouldn't have happened."
Allison said she is organizing other band parents to cook dinner for the family for a month. She is also asking for donations such as toilet paper, milk and bread for visiting family members.
As a band and drumline mom, Allison remembers Kelly's personality.
"She was just the sweetest young lady anyone could ever meet," Allison said. "If someone was in a bad mood she would turn it into a good mood."
A memorial fund has been set up through Washington Mutual and Chase banks to pay for funeral costs, and a memorial service will also be held at 11 a.m. Fridayat the City of Grace Church, 655 E. University Drive, in Mesa.
Kelly's friends remember her as the positive friend anyone could get along with.
Ethan Baxley, 18, spent most of his day with Kelly's family. He knew Kelly through her brother Matthew and remembers her positive attitude.
"The thing I remember most about her was her smile," Baxley said. "She was open and welcome to anyone, and she had a positive attitude she would bring anytime and anyplace."
Reporters Beth Duckett, Megan Boehnke and Lindsey Collom contributed to this story.