Family and friends of 24-year-old Patrick Mercer are grieving after his sudden death.
"We're all really hurting right now,” said Kansas City Blues Rugby Club Head Coach Markus Valovalo.
Valovalo had just wrapped up practice on Tuesday, and the team was heading to Brookside for dinner.
“About 50, 60 of us all jumped in our cars and made a train line to head down the three-mile run to have some food,” Valovalo said. “And just horrible run of luck, it could have hit any one of us heading down.”
Mercer was hit and killed by a driver.
Police said the driver had a bullet wound and ran a red light at the intersection of 63rd and Prospect.
The driver that caused a deadly crash was charged on September 1. Keith Carnes faces the federal charge for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Mercer’s loss is difficult for those close to him to comprehend.
"I don't really know how you make sense of it, I really don't,” said coach Peter Kowalski.
Kowalski said Mercer played in his first Blues game on Sunday.
He said no one will wear his number for a long while.
"It's really a tremendous loss not only for the family, but for the Blues and really for everyone who would have the opportunity to know and be friends with Pat,” Kowalski said.
“He was a Kansas City guy who turned down a couple other job offers to stay here and play for the Blues and get to play with his brother,” Valovalo said. “He won't get the chance to do that now."
The rugby club started a fundraiser to help Mercer's family.
Lexi Sutter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.