CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — Signs reading “Tayden Strong” and “In memory of baby Rowan” line the fence on the field where Tayden Wiley grew up playing baseball at the Orange Park Athletic Association Sports Complex.
During those games, Rowan Patterson often watched from the sidelines, playing in the clay.
“Picking up the clay, putting it in her cute little pocket just the entire time. It was so precious,” said Christine Bastin.
It’s memories like those that made Saturday’s tragic news especially devastating for Bastin, who is a team mom at OPAA Sports Complex.
Her children grew up playing on teams with Tayden, who had just taken up coaching at the park before the tragic accident that took the life of young Rowan and put Tayden in the pediatric intensive care unit.
“This is just a horrible tragedy, and it hits home,” said Bastin.
RELATED: 2-year-old girl dies, teen in ICU after being hit by a car on A1A in Ponte Vedra Beach
Tayden and Rowan were struck by a car driven by a 29-year-old female while returning to a residence on a stretch of A1A Saturday night, according to the FHP crash report.
When Bastin told OPAA park manager Roy Baker what happened, they sprang into action, scheduling a prayer vigil set for Thursday evening.
“I called up a pastor that coaches here and asked him if he could do it, and it’s just … blown up from there,” said Baker.
Baker said he expects teams from across the region to show up for the vigil.
He told us while hundreds of kids come to compete against each other on these fields when a tragedy like this one strikes, the grounds become a place of community, support and prayer.
“It’s just to bring everybody together, give a prayer, let the family know that they’ve got support behind them, and just let them know that we’re going to continue praying,” said Baker.
There is a GoFundMe set up for the Patterson family.
You can donate HERE.
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