From Dripping Springs to Leander and across Central Texas last week, the motto of “Play for Brynn” became a call of solidarity.
Whether that meant using eye black to scribble the number 13 on faces, arms or ball caps, many used the motto as a way to help the Hays High softball team mourn the loss of one of its own.
Brynn Aylor, 16, of Buda, a Hays High junior varsity softball player, was killed March 22 in a two-vehicle accident along FM 2770 roughly a mile south of Buda.
Heather Colleen Wartenburg, 47 and her daughter, Norah Elize Wartenburg, were injured in the wreck and transported to an Austin hospital. Heather Wartenburg was listed in serious condition, while Norah Wartenburg was in stable condition.
According to a Texas Department of Public Safety accident report, the incident happened around 4:35 p.m. March 22.
A 2009 Ford Mustang, driven by Aylor, was traveling north on FM 2770 “likely at a high rate of speed” when it was passed by a vehicle in a no-passing-zone prior to a curve, according to the report.
The Mustang lost control shortly after being passed, according to the report. While trying to negotiate the curve, the Mustang overcorrected and spun into the path of a 1998 Ford Expedition, driven by Wartenburg, who was traveling southbound.
The Mustang was struck on the passenger side by the Expedition, according to the report. Both vehicles came to rest in the roadway.
Hays County Pct. 5 Justice of the Peace Scott Cary, who also ordered an autopsy, pronounced Aylor dead at the scene.
Many across the Hays CISD community immediately felt the impact of Aylor’s death.
Tim Savoy, Hays CISD public information officer, sent a letter to Hays High parents March 22 regarding Aylor’s passing. In addition, the district sent crisis counselors to Hays High to talk with students.
On March 23, the district released a statement on Facebook mourning Aylor’s death. They also said the accident affected the district “in too many ways”, as Heather Wartenburg is an active parent in the Hays CISD community, while her daughter is a junior at Hays High.
Many took to the Hays Free Press Facebook page to express condolences and their grief.
Some also expressed concern over the safety of that stretch of FM 2770, which links FM 1626 to Main Street in Buda.
In an emailed response, resident Frank Ledesma said he encountered five or six cars driving erratically at a high rate of speed earlier in the month along FM 2770 near Buda.
On Friday, the Hays High softball team took the field in its first game following the accident, which resulted in a 6-0 win over the Vandegrift Vipers.
All team members did their part to honor the memory of their fallen teammate.
“A lot of us were close to Brynn and we felt we needed to do that as a team,” Hays High softball player Illyana Cisneros said. “It really brought us closer together.”