HADDAM, Conn. (WTNH) – 14-year-old Gianna Vincelett was hit and killed while riding her bike with a friend during a slumber party last week.
Now friends are rallying around her family as they wait for the driver who killed her to be arrested.
“No one deserves it but especially not her. She’s such an amazing person,” said Allie Rafferty, a friend of Gianna’s.
Rafferty grew up with Gianna, who was known as Gia to her friends. She lives down the road from where the 14-year-old was struck and killed and left in the road by a hit and run driver last Thursday night.
She’s now leading an effort to remember her friend and younger classmate.
“That’s what I’m trying to do to cope because there’s nothing anyone can really do,” Rafferty said.
Loved ones say Gia was sleeping over at a friend’s house when the two girls decided to take their bikes out onto Route 81 near Killingworth Road. It was just after 10:30 p.m. when they were hit.
“We do have a vehicle recovered and a person of interest,” said Sgt. Dawn Pagan of CT State Police.
Gia leaves behind her mom and younger sister. Rafferty told News 8 the stand-out athlete and soccer star had an infectious smile and laugh, and at 14 her life was full of family, sports, and excitement at heading to high school next year.
“She watched her little sister. She was great with kids. Loved animals. Loved nature,” Rafferty said.
Jen Taylor is close friends with Gia’s mother. She runs a nature preserve and sanctuary — they hosted a community dinner to show support and raise money for the family.
“She was an incredibly responsible kid growing up with a single mom. She was the kind of kid who would make dinner and clean the house without even being asked,” Taylor said.
Members of the community have been posting tributes on social media as well — sharing memories and waiting for word on the State Police investigation into her death.
Rafferty is planning a vigil for Gianna. It’s going to take place on the Higganum Town Green this Saturday at 8 p.m. She is welcoming the entire community to come out and show their support for Gianna’s family.