The friends and family of a Texas teenager are mourning her sudden death a month after she returned from the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in June.

Tallye Malynn Harris, 16, represented Coleman County Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Coleman, in this year’s Youth Tour. She was one of 157 students from 61 Texas co-ops.

Harris was the front passenger in an off-road utility vehicle and was ejected when the vehicle hit a deer that had run out into a country road in Coleman County on July 28, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. She died later that day at Shannon Medical Center in San Angelo. No one else in the vehicle was injured.

Coleman County EC selected Harris and another high school girl to participate in this year’s Youth Tour to Washington, D.C. The two girls were close friends and favorites of the Youth Tour selection committee at the co-op.

“The judges were just blown away by Tallye’s intelligence, ambition and personality. Her smile just brightened up a room. She was a special girl. It’s just heartbreaking,” said CoriAnn Carrillo, the co-op’s youth tour coordinator.

Carrillo said she was struck by Harris’s effect on people after reading heartfelt comments left by Youth Tour participants and chaperones on a funeral home’s online guest book. “She really did touch a lot of hearts in such a short amount of time.”

Madie-Claire McAda, sponsored by Concho Valley Electric Cooperative in San Angelo, roomed with Harris during Youth Tour. The girls had never met, but they became fast friends.

“She was so down-to-earth and liked by everyone she met,” McAda said. “She had such a genuine personality and fun spirit. I only knew Tallye for a short time but I will miss her always. I know her classmates will miss her as this new school year begins in sports, in FFA and everything that Tallye was involved in.”

Harris was a rising junior at Coleman High School, where she played volleyball, basketball, softball and golf. She was a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce and active in several agricultural organizations, including the FFA, where she judged and showed pigs.

Harris leaves behind her mother and stepfather, Troya and Cody Chambers; her father and his companion, Todd Harris and Hope Cobb; a brother and two stepbrothers; and a large extended family.