LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. – Kevin Gallardo was number 13 on the field. But he was number one in the hearts of players and staff at Sarasota High School, said Sailor baseball coach Clyde Metcalf.
“He was a likeable boy that the boys liked to be around,” said Coach Metcalf. “Honestly, you can not say that about every boy in a program. He was one of those guys that the players really loved.”
Friday night, Gallardo’s life ended prematurely.
Around 11.15pm, Trooper Ken Watson said Gallardo was a passenger in a Tesla with three other teenagers. The driver, a 17-year-old from Apopka, was driving east on University Parkway just past Lorraine Road.
Troopers said the driver was driving too fast. Tire tracks show where Tesla drove off the road, hit a drainage ditch and went into the air.
The car hit an electric pole and overturned. Two teenagers were thrown from the car.
Gallardo was killed.
Trooper Watson said the Florida Highway Patrol is looking into criminal charges against the driver.
“There are a lot of variables that go into this crash. Speed can be one,” said Trooper Watson. “As a teenager, we want you to have fun, we want you to enjoy your holiday, but we also want you to make good decisions.”
Gallardo was a junior at Sarasota High School and getting ready for his upcoming baseball season as a pitcher. His loss sends a painful ripple through the team, the school, the family and society as a whole.
“It’s a terrible tragedy in the fact that it reaches so far beyond our baseball community,” said Coach Metcalf.
Metcalf said he gave a message to the Sailor team.
“This is a tragedy that did not have to happen,” he added. “We talked to them about it. We talked to some of them individually who maybe, we know, sometimes travel a little too fast and asked them to have this moment in their hearts. We do not want to do this. This is not it. we are built to try and be careful and think about the consequences of their actions. “
One of the injured teenagers is still in hospital in stable condition.