A family golf outing in Orem, Utah, turned tragic when a 6-year-old girl was struck by an errant ball hit by her father Monday and later died.
The girl, identified as Aria Hill, was sitting in a golf cart at Sleepy Ridge Golf Course when she was hit at the base of the neck, KSL-TV in Salt Lake City reported.
Aria was rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition and then flown by helicopter to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, but she died from her injuries Monday evening.
Lt. Trent Colledge of the Orem Police Department said officers are investigating her death but it appears to have been a tragic accident.
Colledge said the cart was situated “between 45 and 90 degrees to the father’s left” when he hit the ball, KSL reported.
Steven Marett, the golf professional at the course, told KSL that he’d never seen anything like what happened Monday in his years as a pro.
Indeed, Marett said he had never seen anyone seriously injured, much less killed, by a stray ball.
“This is absolutely unimaginable, and it’s been devastating to see it at the course and in the community,” he said.
Aria’s uncle David Smith, who described the girl as her father’s “golfing buddy,” told of how she loved spending time with her father on the course.
“She loved doing it and had a good time with it all,” Smith said. “That was one of their things that they would do together. It was something that was really important to them and something they did all the time.”
He has set up a GoFundMe account on behalf of the family to cover Aria’s funeral expenses that as of 2 p.m. local time Wednesday had raised $17,882 toward its $25,000 goal.
The fundraiser includes a statement:
“Our beloved Aria, daughter of Talysa and Kellen, has gone to live with her Heavenly Father and His angels after a tragic accident ended her time with us here on earth. On behalf of her parents, and her younger twin brothers, we are grateful for any support you or those you know may be able to provide.
“In her mother’s words: ‘We are so grateful for all the love, support, and prayers made in our behalf during this difficult time. We’ve truly felt comforted. Aria was the sassiest girl in the world. She was silly, spunky, creative, unique, and so so full of love for everyone she came in contact with. There is a huge hole in our hearts that she has taken with her back to Heaven… Fly high my little angel.’
“Aria brought contagious joy and light to every room or place she entered, and is dearly loved by so many because of the love she shared so freely and effortlessly. She was an incredible big sister to her brothers, wonderful friend to her cousins and neighbors, and had a smile that let you know she was probably up to something — and that something was surely going to bring a smile to your face, a laugh to your soul, or tears of joy to your eyes.
“We’re seeking to raise funds to help with medical and funeral costs, along with anything else the family needs in connection with this tragedy, and are grateful for any assistance you may be able to share.”
— Michael Monsen (@weyfastwhitey) July 16, 2019
Smith provided an update late Tuesday night on GoFundMe.
“Thank you to all those who have sent, and continue to send, their love and support. Whether in the form of thoughts, prayers, service (including yardwork!), sharing this page, or even donating for those who are able, it is ALL sincerely felt and greatly appreciated!” he said.
The campaign is ongoing; details of a memorial service so far have been kept private by the family.
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