Marion Co. Students Cope with Loss - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Marion Co. Students Cope with Loss

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - Students and coaches at Marion County High School spent the day trying to understand how their fellow student suddenly collapsed and died.  17 year old Erick Gutierrez was at practice Tuesday evening when he fell to the ground.  Principal Glenn Tidwell says the coaches worked hard to try to revive Erick, but it just didn't work out.

"They're the ones who might get overlooked in this. When you're a coach, sometimes you look at these players like they're your children; to be on the field and lose one of them is really tough," says Tidwell.

Tidwell says he and several others made the 911 call. When paramedics arrived, they transported Gutierrez to the Pheobe Sumter Hospital in Americus where he was pronounced dead by the coroner. Today students signed posters that said, "Once an eagle always an eagle."

Counselor Melissa Jernigan spent the day helping students deal with their feelings. "I've gone into each of his classes to help that class deal with the fact that there's a chair that's empty that is going to be empty the rest of the semester. That is a difficult thing to deal with and some students have said, I normally would meet him in the hallway right here," added Jernigan.

The hallways at Marion County High were extremely quiet, but inside the classroom, Gutierrez's memory was alive and well. Students took the time to design t-shirts in memory of him that said, ‘Gone but Never Forgotten'.

Tidwell says the school did not know of any medical complications Gutierrez may have had.  His body has been sent to Atlanta for an autopsy. 

Services will be held at Tante Funeral Home in Buena Vista. The burial will be at the Buena Vista Cemetery.

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