Daniel McCauley of Palm Beach, FL was killed yesterday in a car accident, according to reports. He was pronounced dead at Delray Medical Center shortly after the car accident, which only involved one vehicle. No charges have been filed, although an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the accident.
The 17-year-old student was driving his beige Jeep Wrangler at approximately 8:30 a.m. yesterday morning at the time of the accident. He was driving near the entrance to Okeeheelee Park on Forest Hill Boulevard when he lost control of the vehicle. The jeep went over a curb and through a barbed-wire fence before crashing into a tree and a utility pole in an enclave on the side of the road. The vehicle reportedly rolled over during the accident. It is unclear what caused McCauley to lose control of the vehicle.
The teen was immediately transported to Delray Medical Center via helicopter with traumatic injuries. It is not readily known if he was conscious after the accident. He was pronounced dead soon after. He was wearing his seat belt at the time of the accident and investigators do not suspect a DUI.
McCauley’s death has left family, friends and classmates reeling. McCauley was a junior at Palm Beach Central High School. He was a varsity athlete on the school’s football team, on which he played linebacker, and on the wrestling team. Classmates describe him as smart, funny and well-liked; his teachers and coaches say he was full of potential.
Gabriel Terry, 18, McCauley’s wrestling partner at Palm Beach Central High, says that McCauley practiced with him every day to help him train for the wrestling state championships.
“He was really selfless… We had a pretty close bond,” said Terry, who explained that while McCauley wasn’t competing in the championships himself, “he was more excited than me. He didn’t mind putting the extra work in.” Terry just signed with the Miami Hurricanes and attributes some of his success to McCauley. “You are a champion at life,” he wrote on McCauley’s Facebook page, which has turned into a memorial for the teen.
Rod Harris, Palm Beach Central’s head football coach, described McCauley as a “great kid… always happy, always smiling. There’s no good thing to say. It was his time. God thought it was his time,” he said. “We lost a family member. That’s first and foremost. We have to talk about the fun times we had with the kids and remember that. There are a lot of grieving kids. Teenagers are emotional… We’re all emotional. We have to make sure they’re OK first.”
Students collaborated to create a makeshift memorial of flowers, balloons and other sentimental items at the site of the accident. Daniela Castel-Blanco, who is in McCauley’s graduating class, said that she and her friends came out to participate in order to support McCauley’s grieving family. She described McCauley as one of the brightest students at Palm Beach Central.
Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced. Our condolences go out to McCauley’s family.