YORK — More than 300 people watched a single dove soar above the football stadium at York Comprehensive High School, just hours after senior Richard Scott King was struck and killed in a hit-and-run accident.
The sudden loss of the 19-year-old teammate, classmate, student and friend left many in this Western York County town stunned and at a loss for words on Monday.
“We’re taking it pretty hard,” said senior Kevin Susigan, King's longtime friend and teammate on the Cougar football team. “The only time Richard missed school was when he was out sick. It seems like he’s out of school sick. It’s hard to believe.
“I could talk to him about anything. If you were down about something, he would cheer you up.”
King was driving east on McConnells Highway at about 7:15 p.m. Saturday when he struck a dog, lost control of his car and struck a tree, the Highway Patrol reported.
The force of the impact ejected King, who was wearing a seat belt, back into the road, where a vehicle traveling west struck him and left the scene. King died later at Piedmont Medical Center.
Early Sunday morning, police arrested Karen Sims, 36, of Hickory Grove, and charged her with leaving the scene of a crash involving a death, according to the Highway Patrol.
Susigan and fellow senior teammate Taylor McSwain will be among the pallbearers at 3 p.m. Wednesday when King is remembered at a funeral service at Hillcrest Baptist Church, with a burial following at Lakeview Cemetery.
“He was a great teammate,” McSwain said of his fallen teammate. “Everybody I know liked being around him.”
Cougars head football coach John Barrett described the loss of King as “devastating.”
“Richard was a real good football player and a whole lot better person,” Barrett said. “I am a better person for being around Richard. He taught me more than I taught him.”
Upon hearing the news over the weekend, members of the football team began text-messaging each other to see what could be done in remembrance of their friend.
Within hours on Sunday afternoon, Athletics Director Steve Boyd said, more than 300 people — teammates, family, friends, school friends — had gathered at the school's football stadium.
“They released a dove as a symbol of love,” Boyd said. “There are no words to express the loss to the school, team, athletic department and community.”
Barrett recalled the day two summers ago when King rededicated his life to Christ at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp.
“Richard was a special young man,” Barrett said. “He crossed all kinds of barriers.”
Principal Diane Howell said support staff were on hand at the school Monday to assist grieving students.
“Counselors from our school and others, teachers, coaches and the technology staff all pitched in,” Howell said. “We also had ministers present and on call and members of the district staff willing to help.”