More than 500 people attended a community candlelight prayer vigil and balloon release, Thursday in the Palestine High School parking lot, in remembrance of coach Michael Coyne who was killed Sunday night in a crash.
Junior High Principal Joey Mason and First Baptist Church Pastor Tony Watson led the service. Mason said “Coyne loved kids” and “he will be missed.”
The vigil was an opportunity for friends, family, co-workers and students to come together to honor Coyne and pray for the two students involved in the tragic accident that took the beloved coach’s life.
Blue balloons, Coyne’s favorite color, donated by Walmart Palestine and Wildflowers florist shop, were released at the event.
Coyne, a teacher and coach for Palestine Middle School, and two of his students had attended game three of the Western Conference Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks Sunday, May 22.
The PISD school year ended Friday, May 20 and this was not a school-related trip. Coyne had taken the two students to the game to comfort them following a recent and sudden death in their family.
Coyne was driving back Sunday night when he and his passengers were struck by a wrong-way driver headed northbound in a southbound lane of I-45 struck two vehicles at the 265-mile marker. The driver of the vehicle had a head-on collision in the southbound lanes of I-45 just south of Mars Rd.
All three occupants of the wrong-way vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene. In the other vehicle, the driver, Coyne, was pronounced dead at the scene and the two juveniles were taken to the hospital to be treated for their injuries.
Coyne had rejoined the Palestine coaching staff a year ago after a stint in Jacksonville. He coached junior high girls basketball, volleyball and track. He leaves behind his wife, Bethany Coyne, and an infant daughter, along with a host of other family members and friends.
Cash donations and gift cards to help each of the families are being dropped off at Christian Heritage Academy/Southside Baptist Church, 1500 Crockett Rd in Palestine, during their normal hours of operation, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Donations for Coyne’s wife, Bethany, can also be made by PayPal at https://www.paypal.me/BethanyCoyne.
For more information, call 903-729-6064 or 903-729-1280.