OLATHE, Kan. — Hundreds of students, coaches, family and friends gathered on the Olathe East High School football field on Sunday evening for a candlelight vigil for a teen killed in a traffic accident on Saturday.
Nate Trinkle, 17, was killed on 143rd Street near Quivira Road in Overland Park on Saturday night when the vehicle he was riding in struck a guardrail and then a tree, sending him flying out of a window.
Two other teens in the vehicle suffered minor injuries in the accident.
On Sunday, friends remembered Trinkle, who was entering his senior year at Olathe East, as a leader.
“He kind of had a swagger to him, but he was still so nice to everybody and he just led by example,” said friend and teammate Sam McReynolds.
Rebekah Gurkle was Trinkles’ junior prom date last year. She also witnessed Saturday’s accident from a trailing car.
“They swerved really far to the right and I think they were trying to pull back to get into the road, and they like hit a bump and like the ground and like the ditch pulled them back in, and they just hit the railing and he was like not buckled up so he flew out of the top of the car,” said Gurkle. “We just got out of the car, and they were like where’s Nate, and they like walked a little bit further down, like it was like on a trail thing, and he was just like laying there in the grass.”
Gurkle says that she hopes others learn from the tragic accident.
“You never know like when your life is going to be taken from you, and you never know how its going to impact someone elses life,” said Gurkle.