Heather Harrod's life of joy honored by Rutland High classmates, community

Heather Harrod / Bibb County Schools 

MACON, Ga. -- Wednesday night students, faculty and community members gathered at Rutland High School to honor the life of 17-year-old Heather Harrod.

Harrod died in a car crash on Tuesday afternoon.

On Wednesday evening, hundreds of people, including Harrod's family and best friends, lit candles in her memory, shared their favorite stories and cried together around her school parking spot.

Her good friend James Hurley was one of a few who spoke at the vigil.

He said she had a sense of charm about her that almost forced you to like her -- a real beacon of light for the school.

"Seventh period that was always our class because she sat right next to me," Hurley said. "I walked in there, and teacher said 'I understand you and Heather were close. You don't have to come in.' I walked in and sat down, looked to my left and I lost it, man. Just realizing I would never see her anymore."

The tears continued to flow at the vigil when Heather's grandmother and sister also spoke.

As the candles burned, students added more flowers to the memorial. They also added pictures or something that reminded them of an inside joke to it.

The school principal said Heather made the entire school a better place.

Harrod, a senior, was a co-captain on the school's varsity soccer team. Her coach, Rebecca Morgan, said she wanted to play soccer in college.

Morgan said that Harrod lived every single day with joy.

Deputies say that Harrod was traveling north on Interstate 475 near Interstate 75 around 3:30 p.m. when she ran off the roadway.

She was taken to Navicent Health and died a short time later.

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