BRADENTON — A Braden River High School assistant football coach died late Saturday night during a single-vehicle crash off Interstate 75 in Sarasota County.
Douglas J. Garrity, 27, of Bradenton, was killed after he was thrown from the backseat of a 2001 Ford truck driven by Braden River head football coach Joshua Lee Hunter.
Troopers are investigating if the 11:50 p.m. wreck was alcohol-related, according to a Florida Highway Patrol crash report.
An FHP trooper Sunday night said no arrest had been made in connection to the accident.
Hunter, 32, of Bradenton, was not injured.
Neither were Matthew E. Braselton, 26, of Bradenton, who sat in the front passenger seat, and James E. Hunter, 38, of Myakka City, who sat in the back seat next to Garrity. Braselton is a defensive line coach at Southeast High and James Hunter is Josh Hunter’s brother.
Hunter was driving north on S.R. 681 entering the on-ramp of I-75 near Nokomis when he failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway, according to the crash report.
While overturning, Garrity was ejected from the back seat.
Hunter and Braselton wore seat belts, but Garrity and James Hunter did not, according to the report.
Garrity was taken to Doctors Hospital were he later died, the report states.
Garrity was a second-year teacher and defensive line coach for the Pirates. He’s a 2000 graduate of Bayshore High and graduated from Valdosta State in 2006.
“He was a fine young man,” Braden River principal Jim Pauley said. “He would do anything for anybody. He didn’t care how much time he had to spend with the kids. To help them learn he would stay there. The kids loved him, and this is a tough loss for the Pirates family.”
Mark Rupprecht, a member of the Braden River football team’s coaching staff, declined to discuss the matter when contacted by the Bradenton Herald.
“The only comment I’ll make is our sympathies go out to his family,” Rupprecht said. “We’re deeply saddened. That’s all I can say at this point.”
Garrity taught drop-out prevention.
On early Sunday night, skid marks were visible on the road at the scene of the crash. Also found nearby: a torn piece of tire; two business cards from Sarasota Lanes, a bowling alley on Fruitville Road in Sarasota; and a PAL Bowl all-star football game T-shirt.
Manatee County School District spokeswoman Margi Nanney said a crisis team will be available at Braden River High School today.
“Counselors will be there on hand all day to help the students and staff,” Nanny said.
Comments Sunday night on Bradenton.com said students and staff planned to wear black clothing to school today.
Braden River has posted a tribute to Garrity on the school’s Web site.
On Sunday, messages of condolence and love also filled Garrity’s Facebook page online.
“We miss you already,” one male friend wrote.
“You were one of the sweetest most genuine people I’d ever met- RIP,” a female friend wrote.
— Brent Conklin and Brian Neill, of the Herald, contributed to this report.