Community rallies for cheerleaders injured in crash

- The Coolidge community is coming together after a car crash took the life of a high school cheerleader.

Three other cheerleaders were badly hurt in the crash, along with the driver of the other vehicle involved.

The accident happened nearly two weeks ago as the girls were driving home from practice when they went through a stop sign and collided with a 61-year-old man driving a truck.

Three of the surviving girls are out of the hospital and still mourning the loss of their friend.

"I feel like some kids take it, like driving as a joke, like it's just for  fun and being in a crash it made me realize driving is a privilege and you have to stay focused on the road, and it's not for fun," said Jasmyn Gant.

On Friday, August 21, Emily Parks, Jasmyn Gant, Sabiona Jordan, and Shadonna Dukes were driving home from cheer practice when they collided with a truck at the intersection of Kenworthy Road and Northern Avenue.

Each girl was airlifted from the scene with critical injuries.

"When my mouth got injured, I just felt a whole bunch of blood coming out, and I heard Emily screaming," said Sabiona Jordan.

A few days after the accident, Emily passed away from her injuries.

The three surviving teens are trying to heal their injuries and hearts from losing their creative, funny, and artistic friend.

"If we got in trouble at cheer practice or anything, it was always funny, I don't know why, she just made everything funny," said Shadonna Dukes.

The community is now coming together to raise funds for the growing medical bills for each family. Family friends Vanessa Garcia and her cousin Tatiana Murrieta have set up a co-ed softball fundraiser.

They don't have a financial goal in mind but say any amount helps.

"Right now we really don't have a limit because they opened up two fields for us, so I mean we can go as long as we need to go into Sunday so right now we have 10 teams committed," said Vanessa Garcia.

The tournament is set up for September 12; you can find more information here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1631486473795866/

If you would like to donate money, you may do so at the Pinal County Federal Credit Union, under the CHS Cheer Benefit Account. 

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