BULLARD – A Bullard teen who was one of two people seriously injured in a multi-vehicle collision Friday has died, according to local school and police officials.
Emma Sikes, 16, died Saturday after being life-flighted to a Tyler hospital for treatment.
The announcement was made in an open letter posted Saturday on the district's Facebook page, by Dr. Jack Lee, schools superintendent.
“I am deeply saddened to inform you that one of our students, Emma Sikes, passed away earlier today. Emma was a bright young lady and extremely involved student. Currently a sophomore here at Bullard High School, Emma took advanced coursework, was an active member of the band where she was the first chair flute in the concert band, and was a member of the Bullard HS Key and Spanish clubs,” Lee wrote. “Emma was also an extremely involved member of the Bullard HS FFA chapter showing pigs, was on the leadership and judging teams, and as a freshman, advanced to state competition in farm business management.”
According to unofficial police reports, first responders received a call at 11:19 a.m. Friday of a three-vehicle crash at U.S. Highway 69 and County Road 3801.
Sikes, 16, and a male passenger – a fellow Bullard High School student, also 16 – were in a 2005 Volkswagen Jetta, traveling west along the county road and crossed the highway as a 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage, driven by Carmen Dean, 31, of Tyler, was headed north along the highway when the collision occurred, said Bullard Police Captain Jeff Bragg.
The impact forced the Jetta across the highway, when a second collision occurred with a 1988 Ford Mustang driven by Marcus Kincade, 50, of Tyler, that was traveling south along Hwy. 69, he said.
Both occupants of the Jetta were taken by helicopter to Tyler hospitals.
On Saturday, the local community responded with a prayer gathering at First Baptist Church of Bullard, while
a Facebook fundraiser, “Emma Sikes medical and funeral cost,” raised $20,870 by 313 people in three days – the initial goal set by organizers was for $15,000; the fundraising is ongoing for the next two weeks.
“Life is precious people. Live for TODAY! Let's not take life and the people in our lives for granted,” posted Crystal Jean Hillman. “Thank you Emma for always loving an being a great friend to my baby girl ...”
Others shared condolences on the page, as well as photos for Sikes' family.
In his letter, Lee asked that “Emma’s family, friends, and teachers (be kept) in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”
The district, meanwhile, is offering counseling for students and staff to support them through the tragedy.
“Our counselors will be available beginning on Monday to provide support for students and staff. Should students or staff want to visit with a counselor, please contact the school and arrangements will be made,” Lee said, adding, “no loss is easy. Loss of a young student is even more difficult.
“As a district, our number one concern will always be the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff, and I know that the entire Bullard community shares in caring for our students. On behalf of the entire Bullard ISD family, I thank you for your support,” Lee said.