Carrying flowers and stuffed animals, the family and friends of Grady High School freshman Alexia Hyneman gathered Saturday at the site of the accident that took her life.
Hyneman, 14, was riding her bike home from a school theater performance on Thursday night when, according to Atlanta police, she “proceeded through the intersection” at 10th Street and Monroe Drive and was struck by a vehicle. A witness told police that traffic had “begun to move” on Monroe before Hyneman was hit.
The driver who struck her reportedly told police he didn’t see the girl. Atlanta police Sgt. Warren Pickard said Saturday that the incident remains under investigation, but that the “preliminary report indicates the driver was not at fault.”
The crash happened around 9:15 p.m. Thursday and Hyneman died just before 3 p.m. Friday, according to a post on her mother’s Facebook page.
At an emotional ceremony, Hyneman’s family and friends remembered a creative girl who loved music and books, had a remarkable vocabulary and planned to get a doctorate in English and become a professor.
“She was a brilliant singer and performer,” said her father, Thomas Hyneman.
She loved to read and insisted on studying Latin, her mother said.
Hyneman’s friends and family gathered together along the Atlanta Beltline on Saturday, within sight of the spot where the accident took place. They described a girl who loved “Dr. Who” and the popular bands Fall Out Boy and Twenty One Pilots. Her friends from Grady laughed and cried and huddled together, as they remembered their friend who was bold and filled with talent.
“We are sad, but we will live on for her, because she did not have the chance to,” said Jared Holloway, 15. “Saying she was unique was an understatement. I don’t know if there is anyone else like Alex, most likely not.”
Thomas Hyneman said that, when his daughter was late arriving home from the school performance and didn’t answer her phone, he tracked her phone’s location to Grady Memorial Hospital. He said he assumed his daughter’s phone had been stolen, but rushed to the hospital just in case, and eventually confirmed she was there and had been in a terrible accident.
“I loved my daughter, as you obviously do,” her father told her classmates. “Don’t let her go, you do not have to let her go. Keep her, take her, hold her with you. Love her and take that little crazy spark that she was, inevitably, always going to be, and find a way to use it in your life to make it better.”
The vigil ended with a song Alexia Hyneman loved — Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries.”
With tears streaming, the family and friends hugged one another and sang the lyrics: “Some legends are told, some turn to dust or to gold, but you will remember me, remember me for centuries.”