Sophia Delott was 17 years old when she was tragically killed by a drunken driver last weekend. She was the only female player on her high school football team and had recently enlisted in the Marines.
According to a statement by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department, the girl was riding her bicycle in the bike lane on the Indian Rocks Causeway Bridge, about 20 miles west of St. Petersburg, at 10:30 p.m. on Friday when she was struck by a 2014 BMW 320i driven by 69-year-old Neil Singhal.
The man allegedly swerved into the bike lane and sent Delott flying through the air, Fox 13 reported.
Delott sustained life-threatening injuries and was rushed to a local hospital, but unfortunately, it was too late for the Seminole High School student, as Delott later died from her injuries.
Singhal was not injured.
Authorities on the scene reportedly found an open bottle of vodka in Singhal’s BMW and noted that the Indian Rocks native appeared to be impaired at the time of the deadly crash, Fox 13 reported.
Singhal was booked on suspicion of DUI manslaughter and is currently being held on a $200,000 bond, according to Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office inmate records.
But nothing can compensate for the sorrow that the episode has left for Sophia’s friends, family and teammates. This fall would have been senior season for the only girl of the Seminole High School football team.
People who know Delott described her as an one of the kindest and sweetest girl, a selfless person and caring to everyone she met.
To her football teammate, she worked hard at the sport and wanted to be treated like any other player, said coach Chris Miller to NBC affiliate WFLA. “She would go out on the football field and throw the ball around and that’s where she felt like home. She felt comfortable. She felt like herself. So she just wanted to play.”
Delott’s locker was turned into a memorial, with her No. 22 jersey, flowers and football cleats.
Delott, who planned to serve in the Marines after high school, also stood out to her future employers, including recruiter Sgt. Paul Dingess. “It’s a big loss because I know the potential she had just in my short time I had with her.”, Dingess told Fox 13.