Photo courtesy: SDSU Sports Information
MONTICELLO, Minn. - More than 200 people came out in Monticello on Friday night to honor and remember one of their own.
Phil LaVallee, 19 was a legend in Wright County known for his running ability. He was struck and killed by a van while training near his home in Otsego on Thursday afternoon.
"Like most people said, he didn't run, he glided," Monticello High School principal Joel Lundin said of LaVallee.
LaVallee ran with a grace and a talent never seen before in Monticello. He shattered records in both track and cross country. This fall would have been his second season as a South Dakota State Jackrabbit.
But on Thursday, he went for a run and never came home. LaVallee was running along County Road 19 in Otsego, just a mile from home, when from behind he was hit by a van that had crossed the center line. He was killed instantly.
"The only thing he always loved doing was running. Everybody knows him for that," high school friend Carly Towner said.
Because he was known best for what he did best, that is how at least 200 people chose to honor his memory Friday night.
"It was perfect running weather because he made it that way," said Phil's younger brother, Andrew.
They ran on the open roads and ended at the track where LaVallee always finished first. They finished the last run, for Phil.
"I just felt sad and happy because I know he is in a better place, but I wish he was here with me, right now," Andrew said.
The crash remains under investigation in Wright County. The woman who was involved was taken from the scene by helicopter for her injuries. She remained hospitalized Friday night.
(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)