Tragedy has formed around a horrific auto accident, which involved former West Florida (Pensacola) football player Kyle Harrison.
Former West Florida High football and baseball player Kyle Harrison, 21, died Monday after being struck by a car Wednesday, which caused head trauma and resulted in a 10-hour brain surgery on Saturday.
Harrison was headed home from church on Wednesday when three cars, including Harrison’s, were involved in a crash the evening in the northbound lane of U.S. 90 near Eight Mile Creek Road.
Harrison exited his vehicle to check on the status of the other party in the collision. A pedestrian, Dannah McCormick, 34, of Pensacola, stopped to also provide aid.
Shortly after, Harrison and McCormick were struck by another vehicle that was heading the opposite direction down the road.
Harrison and McCormick were both taken to Sacred Heart Hospital following the crash.
McCormick, a nurse at Sacred Heart, died due to her injuries.
Harrison was part of West Florida’s graduating class of 2015, and played football and baseball.He was key member of West Florida’s offensive line and helped start West Florida’s current streak of four district championships.
“He was a guy that was always positive and encouraged everybody,” said Lees, who coached at West Florida from 2010 to 2017 and is currently Milton’s head coach. “It’s one thing to talk about living a certain way and it’s one thing to do it. Kyle exemplified a high-quality life and his teammates knew it and looked up to him.
“Even his former teammates that didn’t hang out with him too much during high school contacted me after the accident. They were all crushed because everybody respected Kyle.”
Lees remembers Harrison as a high school senior, who he described as a 300-pound athlete that was a force on the football field but enjoyed baseball more.
Lees said Harrison ” was doing really well in life.” Harrison had shed 70 pounds since high school and planned to run a Spartan Race in Jacksonville this summer.
Though Summerford was the defensive coordinator at West Florida during Harrison’s days there, the two were very close and Summerford said it was his honor to be on the same field as Harrison.
One of Summerford’s fondest memories of Harrison was during halftime of West Florida’s first-round playoff game against Tallahassee Godby during Harrison’s junior year.
It was the first time in program history that West Florida beat Godby and Harrison delivered an emotional speech at halftime to fire up the team.
“We haven’t had a better guy come through our program,” Summerford said. “He was a strong, Christian athlete and he portrayed that every day. It rubbed off on his teammates and he was infectious as a leader. He wasn’t just a vocal leader.
“The examples he set were things that our players wanted to follow. I am so proud to have been associated with Kyle Harrison. That’s what makes this so tough.”