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Tragedy strikes Dalhart High again


Posted by: tdt -

Tragedy strikes Dalhart High again

By Bill Kelly
The Dalhart Texan

Just one week before their graduation, the members of the Dalhart High Class of 2023 suffered a tragic loss, as class member Eric Ruiz passed away suddenly on Thursday May 18. It was an unfortunate capstone to a very difficult year for Dalhart High and the entire community, as Ruiz was the third student to pass away during the school year.

Dalhart ISD Superintendent Jeff Byrd issued a media release late in the evening on May 18. It read in part: “It is with an extremely heavy heart that I report Dalhart ISD senior, Eric Ruiz, passed away this afternoon from unknown reasons after his father found Eric unresponsive at their home. Eric was rushed to the ER at Coon Memorial Hospital but could not be revived. The entire Dalhart community is saddened by this event, and words cannot express the grief we feel about the loss of this young man. Eric and his family are an important part of the Dalhart school community. His teachers, coaches, and fellow students will miss him greatly. We extend out deepest condolences to Eric’s family and encourage everyone to provide support to them in their time of painful loss.”

A candlelight vigil was held in honor of Ruiz at Earl Smith Field in the evening of Friday May 19. Ruiz was a member of the Dalhart Golden Wolves’ baseball team, so that seemed the appropriate location for the vigil. His family came to the event, and expressed thanks to everyone for being there and for supporting them.

The students and staff at Dalhart High, and indeed the entire Dalhart community, have had a difficult year. The Class of 2025 (this year’s sophomore class) lost two members earlier in the school year. Yahir Cancino passed away in early September after collapsing during a JV football game, and Preston Ralston passed away on Monday February 13. The community suffered an additional loss in early October as Fire Chief Curtis Brown and firefighter Brendan Torres were killed in a collision as they returned to Dalhart after responding to a vehicle accident near Stratford.

Ruiz’s funeral will also be held at Earl Smith Field. It will be today, Wednesday May 24 at 6 p.m. Those attending are asked to bring a lawn chair and dress in their favorite baseball attire.

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