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Former ODA sports star dies in Miami accident

A former star athlete and homecoming king at Out-of-Door Academy was killed early Sunday after being hit by a car near the University of Miami campus.

Taylor William Emmons, 19, a 2009 graduate of Out-of-Door Academy in Lakewood Ranch and a sophomore at UM, was struck by a Toyota SUV at 1 a.m., Coral Gables Police say.

Emmons, whose Facebook page says he expected to graduate from UM in 2013, was on San Amaro when he was struck by a 2000 silver Toyota Four Runner traveling southbound. Emmons, who lived in Coral Gables, suffered critical injuries and was taken to Doctor’s Hospital, where he later died.

Police say the Four Runner was driven by a 39-year-old Miami woman.

“This crash is under investigation,” said Coral Gables Police Officer Kelly Denham.

David Mahler, head of school at Out-of-Door Academy, broke the news to faculty members Monday morning.

“Taylor was an exceptional young man in every way. He was an outstanding student,” Mahler said. “He was a leader on this campus. He was loved by everybody. He was a young man of impeccable character. Our entire school community is devastated by this tragic news.

"All of our thoughts and prayers go out to the Emmons family. “

Emmons, whose nickname was "Temmons," graduated from Out-of-Door Academy in 2009. He was an officer with National Honor Society member, named homecoming king and co-captain of the baseball team. He was also captain of the boys golf team and nominated by classmates for having the Most School Spirit.

"I will always remember Taylor for his unbelievable smile and good humor," baseball coach Mike Verrill wrote in an e-mail to the Bradenton Herald. "He could light up a room or an entire ball field with that cocky smile of his. I enjoyed every day of practice and games with him because of how he approached life.

"Life was fun for Taylor never a chore."

“You guys are the reason I have made it to where I am today, and I am extremely thankful that I was lucky enough to be blessed with such an incredible group of people in my life,” wrote Emmons in his yearbook in a message to his family members during his senior year. “Thank you for everything.”

Mike Emmons, Taylor’s brother, said Sunday “there are no words one can write which fully encapsulate the impact Taylor has had on his friends and family.

“Taylor was a smart, caring and fun young man who always put the needs and feelings of others before his,” Mike Emmons wrote in a statement to the Miami Herald.

Mike said his brother, who was majoring in entrepreneurship in UM’s business school, was a talented athlete During his senior season in 2009, he was co-captain of ODA’s baseball team, which made it to the regional finals.

“He left everyone he met with the feeling that they were not only accepted but appreciated,” Mike Emmons said. “Never one to pass up a good time, he was always the life of the party, leaving all who met him with the impression that he was a genuinely nice, genuinely fun person to be around.”

Marc R. Masferrer, metro editor, Beth Burger, staff writer, and the Miami Herald contributed to this report.

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