11/8/2002 RICE GIRL KILLED IN WRECK:
Classmates, coaches remember Heather
By RAYMOND LINEX II/Daily Sun Staff
School was open in Rice Thursday, but it was far
from a normal day as students and administrators alike mourned the death
of student Heather Holland.
The 16-year-old sophomore was killed in an
automobile accident Wednesday evening as she traveled southbound on the
Interstate 45 service road, moments after leaving basketball practice.
Holland, a first-team All-Golden Circle pitcher as a freshman, was heading
to pitching practice in Corsicana, her coaches said.
Lady Bulldog softball coach Julie Beale said
Tiffany Holland, now a freshman, intends to wear her sister's jersey this
spring when Rice returns to the field.
"And she said, 'I'm going to wear it with
pride,' " said Beale, who spent some time alone on the Rice softball
field mound Thursday. "I said, 'I wouldn't accept anything less.'
Teachers and coaches said Holland was very
well-liked and just as solid in school and other extra curricular events
as she was in athletics. Services are set for 2 p.m. Saturday at
Griffin-Roughton Funeral Home Chapel. Visitation will be 6 to 9 p.m.
The Rice softball team will serve as pallbearers.
Holland is survived by parents Mike and Candace
Holland and another sister, Kathleen, all of Rice, in addition to other
"She liked to compete," Rice volleyball
coach Elizabeth Williams said. "She liked to be involved. It's a
tragedy, and it will take a while to get over."
Rice superintendent Larry Baer said extra
counselors were on hand Thursday, and high school principal Tom Herrin
advised other administrators and teachers on how to cope with the loss,
and help students cope.
"It's been a somber day," Baer said.
"She was liked by all and she was in a lot of activities, softball of
course her expertise.
"It's tough for the kids, but they've done
well. ... Classes weren't necessarily normal. The kids were given the
freedom to talk about this as long as they wanted to. And Tom did an
excellent job of advising the staff on what to expect."
Beale said one player had already created a sign
to hang near Holland's athletic locker, something she noticed as she
planned to hang her jersey out. She said a rose and a note card were on
the bench in front of the locker.
"It was from one of her friends that wasn't
in athletics," Beale said. "She had that kind of effect on
Nevertheless, Beale said Holland loved softball.
The two had just talked about the velocity on her fastball Wednesday
morning. Holland went 10-5 with a 1.40 ERA as a freshman, and by the end
of the season became a pillar for the Lady Bulldogs to lean on. She
pitched a shutout in the team's bi-district win over Dawson.
Beale said she had no idea Holland would develop
"It was kind of a surprise, but a pleasant
surprise," she said. "She did nothing but get stronger."
Thursday, however, Beale said she hated softball
after Holland's death, an emotion she knew would be fleeting.
According to Department of Public Safety reports,
Holland was attempting to access Interstate 45 from the service road about
10 minutes after 6 p.m. when a 2001 Kia Sportage driven by Berdia Smith of
Rice collided with Holland's 1988 Mercury Sable. Smith failed to yield
right of way at the entrance ramp, the report stated, and Holland was not
wearing her seatbelt.
Holland was transferred to Navarro Regional
Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 7:01 p.m. Her body was
transferred to the Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas for an
Smith, who has children that also attend Rice
ISD, was treated and released from Navarro Regional, her daughter said
Weekend athletic events were altered for Rice.
The Bulldogs' football game with Hubbard Friday was canceled, and a
playoff volleyball game scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday was moved back to
Softball, Holland's favorite sport, was also
altered for Rice. The team will likely wear black bands in remembrance of
Holland, the second recognized Golden Circle softball player to die in a
car accident in the last three years. On Memorial Day in 2000, Blooming
Grove's Krista Armstrong, fresh off a sophomore season in which she earned
first-team honors at catcher, was killed along with a family friend in a
Armstrong would have been a senior last year. The
area's top award -- player of the year -- was renamed the Krista Armstrong
Player of the Year shortly after her death. Blooming Grove never forgot
Armstrong, leaving an opening facing the Blooming Grove cemetery every
time the team huddled.
Rice won't forget Holland, either, Beale said.
"She was tough and kind," she said,
"and she was kind-hearted and very respectful. She definitely had
"... She was a great kid, a great person. We
thought we had a good chance to go to state, and she was going to a big
part of it. The one thing you can say (about the accident), is she was
going to do something she loved."
Raymond Linex II may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected]
fund established for Holland
From Staff Reports
A memorial fund in honor of Heather Holland has
been set up in Rice.
The Rice State Bank will be accepting donations
in memory of Holland, a 16-year-old Rice High School sophomore who was
killed in an automobile wreck Nov. 6.
Holland, a standout student at Rice who excelled
in extra curricular activities, had just left basketball practice and was
heading to Corsicana to practice pitching when her car collided with
She was a first-team All-Golden Circle softball
selection at pitcher after a stellar freshman season. She went 10-5 with a
1.40 ERA and pitched a shutout in the team's bi-district win over Dawson.
Holland is survived by parents Mike and Candace
Holland and two sisters, Kathleen and Tiffany.
Heather Marie Holland, 16, passed away
Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2002 at Navarro Regional Hospital.
Visitation will be held from 6 to 9 p.m.
today at Griffin-Roughton Funeral Home.
Services will be 2 p.m. Saturday at
Griffin-Roughton Chapel with the Rev. Dennis Webster officiating.
Interment will follow at New
Pallbearers will be members of the Rice
Girls Softball Team.
Heather was born Sept. 15, 1986 in El Paso.
She was a sophomore at Rice High School.
Survivors include her parents, Michael and
Candace Holland of Rice; sisters, Kathleen and Tiffany, both of
Rice; grandparents, Marvin and Virginia Dorton of Ennis, Marty and
Sue Widner of Powell, Tenn., and Harold D. Walser Sr. of Johnson
City, Tenn.; and great-grandmother, Hazel Wilson of Johnson City,
Arrangements by Griffin-Roughton Funeral