FORT WORTH In a field outside the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, a bright young life came to a tragic end Sunday morning.
Competitive go-kart rider Kierstin Eaddy of Flower Mound was killed when her machine accelerated past the finish line and through a cable barrier following a race in the parking lot.
No stranger to the racing circuit, Kierstin was perhaps even more well known on the running track. She was a record-breaking track star at Shelton School in North Dallas. She had recently tried out for the Junior Olympics as a pentathlete.
Kierstin also volunteered with autistic children, was active in Girl Scouts, and was a straight-A honor student.
'She was so so smart,' friend Isabel Kennedy said.
As many of Kierstin's other friends expressed on social media, Issabel told us she 'was just in shock' when she got the news of Sunday's tragedy. She said Kierstin was infectiously upbeat and was a true 'one of a kind.'
'She did stand out... a beautiful soul,' said Shelton School Principal Sharon McEachern. 'It's kind of a hole in our universe, it really is.'
Kierstin was going to be a freshman next month. At the end of the last school term, her 8th grade class voted to give her the School Spirit Award, many of them gushing with praise for her as they cast their ballots.
Her friend Kat Freudenthal said they grew especially close running track and cross country together. She said all of her friends are working to make sure Kierstin's memory is never forgotten.
'She was just a perfect person, like the closest you could get,' said Freudenthal.
As classmates struggle with the grief of her sudden passing, others say they are taking solace in the fact she packed a lot into an extraordinary 14 years.
'I mean it's something any adult would be proud of, what she achieved in 14 years,' McEachern said, adding the Shelton School family will now rally around Kierstin's younger sister, who also attends school there.
As for the investigation, Fort Worth police say it appears the crash was just a tragic accident, and they don't anticipate that any charges will be filed.
The Texas Motor Speedway plans to conduct its own inquiry into the matter.
And the Sports Car Club of America, which organized the go-kart competition, said it will review the incident before deciding whether any new safety measures should be adopted for future competitions.
The SCCA noted that the organization has staged approximately 20,000 events like Sunday's over the last 18 years, and had never logged even a 'significant injury.'