Friends and family of Julieann Arancel gather for an emotional prayer service Sunday evening. (Source: CBS 5 News)
(Source: CBS 5 News)
Accident scene at North Mountain Vista Boulevard and West Morgan Lane. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
Nine people were on the golf cart at the time of the mishap, PCSO said. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ (CBS5/AP) -
Friends and family gathered Sunday to remember a 16-year-old Pinal County girl who died in a golf cart rollover in San Tan Valley.
Julie Arancel was a passenger in the golf cart when it rolled, causing her to fall and strike her head to strike the asphalt before the cart landed on her.
The rollover occurred after the golf cart's driver tried to make a right turn late Saturday night as the cart packed with nine teens was returning from a restaurant, said Pinal County Sheriff's Office spokesman Tim Gaffney.
Arancel was pronounced dead at Banner Ironwood Hospital at 1:17 a.m. Sunday, more than an hour after the one-vehicle accident.
Hundreds of people gathered Sunday evening for a prayer vigil at a Johnson Ranch park in Queen Creek, near the spot where Arancel died.
Friends and family members broke into tears as they described Arancel, a junior at Poston Butte High School.
Several of the people who were on the golf cart with her Saturday told CBS 5 News they were deeply sorry couldn't believe they made such a bad decision.
The pain was evident in the voices and faces of those at the gathering.
"She's my everything, she's so happy," said Julie's mother, Maryanne, who said the last 24 hours had been agonizing.
"It has been unbearable. Numb. Like a bad dream," she said.
Just a few feet from the spot where Julie lost her life sat her picture enveloped in flowers, candles and messages written on paper bags.
Tyler Greene is one of Julie's best friends and also on the cart Saturday night.
"I was the only one that stayed by her side while she took her last, final breaths," he said. "I tried to wake her up and she wouldn't wake up."
Her family described her as a tomboy, saying she loved Lakers basketball and paintball and had dreams of one day enlisting in the U.S. Air Force.
"She was beautiful and perfect in her own way," said friend Michael Green. "You can't have another Julie. She dresses her own way. She's not your typical girl. She's something else."
For many of the people, Julie's death was a reminder that life is precious.
"Just cherish every moment you have with people because you never know when it's going to be your last," Green said.
Authorities said the rollover was caused by an inexperienced driver who was steering an overloaded vehicle.
The golf cart was taken without permission by one of the girls involved, sheriff's deputies said. Her father was out of town on vacation, PCSO said.
Drugs and alcohol weren't believed to have played a part in the rollover.
After the crash, many of the occupants fled the scene and had to be later located, Gaffney said.
The case will be submitted to the Pinal County Attorney's Office for review of possible charges against the driver, Gaffney said.
All the people involved in the accident attend Poston Butte High School. Counselors will be available on Monday morning to assist the students as they return to classes.
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation) contributed to this report.