Several people gathered on Monday night on Curry Field at the Waxahachie Optimist Fields for a candlelight vigil for Slade Russo.
Russo, who was a local 13-year-old athlete and a Red Oak youth baseball player passed away Sunday after suffering injuries from a four-wheeler accident. He was a passenger in the four-wheeler before his friend lost control of the ATV. Both were injured and transported to Baylor Scott & White Hospital. The other child Alex Gutierres, 12, was then transported to Dallas Children’s Hospital. The vigil included music, a speech from Paul O’Rear before a prayer.
Russo’s head coach Michael Davis saw the CareFlite helicopter, he said.
“I was actually on the golf course with my son and on the 13th fairway we saw CareFlite fly over and we were wondering what it was,” Davis said. “When we got back to the car I got a call from one of the other guys in the organization who asked if I had a kid named Slade Russo on my team. They told me he was just killed.”
Davis coached Russo for two years and will always remember the all-around athlete and personality of Russo, he said.
“Of all the time I’ve been in baseball he’s probably my favorite kid I’ve ever coached,” he said. “He did whatever you asked. He had an unbelievable attitude, incredible athlete and he was a great kid. He’s just family and was the heart of the team. He never complained and was tough as nails, whatever you needed, he did it.”
Russo was home schooled at the time of his accident, Davis said.
“He didn’t have the population of a school, so these are people who got to know him through baseball,” Davis said.
Collin Bynum, one of Russo’s best friends, couldn’t believe the news when he found out, he said.
“I was at my house,” Bynum said. “I thought it was fake. He was my best friend since like second grade, so around five years. He’s just the best, he was a godly friend and one of the best friends you could ask for.”
Russo always knew how to make people laugh, Gabriella Jaramillo, another one of Russo’s friends, said.
“One of my best memories was sitting at the movies, just laughing and telling stories,” Jaramillo said.
Brianna Pollardo was very close to Russo, she said.
“One of the last things he did was kiss me on the forehead and told me he was thankful to have a friend like me,” Pollardo said. “That was Friday night. We were really close.”
Russo was easygoing and made friends easily, Rylee Barron, another good friend of Russo, said.
“He was just so easy to get along with,” Barron said. “He was so easy to like.”
Russo will always be remembered by the people whose lives that he touched, Hanna Hill, a friend of Russo’s who attended the vigil, said.
“He made an impact of a lot of people’s lives,” Hill said.