ARCADIA, Fla. — An adored youth soccer coach in Arcadia is dead following an awful accident Saturday night. Troopers report the 17-year-old, Bryan Sanchez, hit a power pole and then died from electrocution.
People have been stopping at a memorial at the crash site all day long, coming to say their goodbyes, praying, and holding onto one another with tears in their eyes.
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“He was literally an angel to all of us,” Keila Trujillo said, Bryan’s sister.
“He made a difference, he really made a difference in a lot of people’s lives,” Amber Vilsaint added, a board member of the soccer federation where Sanchez coached.
Both Trujillo and Vilsaint agreed Sanchez leaves behind a lasting legacy.
“He was just one awesome kid,” Vilsaint said.
“Very fun, funny, loving,” Trujillo added.
There aren’t enough words to describe the teenager, according to those who loved him. Right now, they’re in the middle of a nightmare.
“Every morning we wake up and we wish it was just a dream, and it’s not,” Trujillo said.
That nightmare starts with 911 audio that is difficult for anyone to listen to.
You can hear a girl calling in to report an accident. The next thing you hear is her horrifically screaming.
“I just saw him in front of me get electrocuted,” the girl said.
On scene at SW Robin Road, you can see the broken wood where the power pole snapped. Troopers report Bryan hit the pole, survived, and then somehow touched live wires.
In the 911 audio, you hear the dispatcher ask how she knows Bryan.
“He was my boyfriend,” the girl said.
“It’s your boyfriend?” the dispatcher replied.
“Yes,” the girl responded
As grief sets in, small-town Arcadia is doing what it does best: supporting its own in times of tragedy.
“Everybody knew him and who he was. I mean, and that is why I believe that our community will come together,” Vilsaint said.
She works with the Desoto County Youth Soccer Federation where Bryan coached for three years. In 2022, he brought his team almost to the finals. They finished second in the league.
“His kids loved him. They just always, when he was here, I don’t think any of his kids missed practice,” Vilsaint said.
“It hurts to see [the players] cause they’ve asked what are we going to do for soccer next year? Who’s going to be our coach? It’s hard,” Bryan’s sister said.
Trujillo said so many players were lifted up by her brother, who always knew how to praise his players. One was so touched by the teen’s influence, he left his trophy at the growing memorial.
“t’s so unbelievable that he was here, and now he’s not,” Trujillo said.
If you’d like to help the Sanchez family during this time, you can donate through the Desoto County Youth Soccer Federation or visit a BBQ happening this Saturday.
Count on NBC2 to share the details of that event when they are finalized.
The soccer organization is also renaming its summer cup in honor of the young coach who lost his life too soon.