Community mourns teen killed in bicycle accident


Ponte Vedra residents came together this week to mourn and pay tribute to a Nease High School student who died July 6 from injuries sustained in a traffic accident.

Christian Meier, 17, was riding his bike eastward on the sidewalk along Palm Valley Road last week when he was hit by a car as he tried to cross the road near the foot of the Palm Valley Bridge. He was taken to Baptist Medical Center Beaches, where he later died of his injuries.

Following the accident, school officials reached out to local families, offering to connect them with grief counseling resources.

“It is with great sadness that I must share with you that one of our own, Christian Meier, a rising senior, passed away…” Principal Kyle Dresback wrote. “Christian’s family has been very involved and has been a great supporter of Nease High School.”

Meier – who worked at the Publix at the Palm Valley roundabout – was active in Nease’s nationally ranked NJROTC program, earning numerous honors and accolades. In addition to being named the program’s most recent Sailor of the Quarter, he held a “Top 7” leadership position within the cadet corps, graduated from the prestigious Area 12 Leadership Academy and was a member of the Nease NJROTC’s nationally ranked Color Guard competition unit.

“Christian embraced the ideals of the JROTC program – exceptional character, service to the community and strong leadership,” said Capt. Scott LaRochelle, senior naval science instructor for Nease’s NJROTC program. “He was a servant leader within the corps of cadets – always ready and willing to contribute to whatever needed to be done. He mentored the younger cadets, teaching and guiding them toward success in the program.”

Meier’s goal, LaRochelle said, was to one day become a Navy pilot.

“Christian possessed all the tools to earn a full Navy ROTC scholarship and would have become a helluva pilot,” LaRochelle said. “He will be missed.”

A member of the National Honor Society, Meier also received awards through the school district’s “Character Counts” program.

He is survived by his parents, Margaret and Walter; three sisters – Claire Rose, Mary Kate and Laura Elizabeth; two brothers, Sean Thomas and Patrick Ryan; grandmother Mary Pauzer; and godparents John and Carol Meier, and Janet DeVos.