Family, friends say Gardnerville teen had zest for life |

Family, friends say Gardnerville teen had zest for life

by Maggie O'Neill

It could be said that Nicole Snyder was a girl wise beyond her years.

The 16-year-old Douglas High School student from the Gardnerville Ranchos died Monday in an accident on Highway 395.

Patti, her mother, and John, her father, said it was as if she sensed something about her own destiny.

“She must have known,” Patti said Tuesday morning. “She wrote, ‘Live every day like it is your last. One of these days it will be and it is better to know you have lived a good full life.'”

Nevada Highway Patrol is working to determine what caused an Acura Integra northbound on Highway 395 about 1:15 p.m. with three teenage girls to run into the median, become airborne and hit the Ford Escort driven by Nicole.

“It’s looking like it was driver inattention, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet,” said Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Chris Smithen. “We don’t know why the vehicle went across the road.”

Teenagers in the community wanting to talk about Nicole’s death are invited at 7 tonight to St. Gall Pastoral Center. There, they will find the Rev. Bill Nadeau.

A viewing is scheduled at the Catholic church from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday and a funeral for Nicole is 11 a.m. Friday at St. Gall with burial at Eastside Memorial Park.

“She loved writing poems and writing stories,” her mother said. “She always seemed to write about people in need.”

Several years ago, after seeing a commercial on television, Nicole began donating to Children International.

Nicole, a star softball player and International House of Pancakes employee, sent money to a Filipino boy for several years.

The family asks that anyone wishing to make a donation in Nicole’s memory, send it to Children International, P.O. Box 219055, Kansas City, MO 64121, or call the organization at 800-888-3089.

“She was going to be a star, I know she was going to be a star,” said her junior varsity softball coach, Tom Keck. “She had the fire in her stomach.”

Over the past two years, Nicole and her team lost only four games. The Record-Courier sports’ articles about the Tigers speak volumes about the sophomore girl … “Nicole Snyder struck out 11,” “Snyder tripled,” “Snyder stole a base,” “Snyder struck out seven and walked none,” “Snyder doubled.”

Her jersey number for the Lady Tigers was No. 1.

“She just had a zest for softball,” Keck said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. Each year the kids teach me something and she’s one of the ones who taught me about being yourself and having fun and not getting caught up in the idea we have to win all the time.”

Nicole attended St. Gall Catholic Church and was a reader at Sunday’s 5 p.m. Mass. On Monday, she left the International House of Pancakes about an hour before her shift ended and headed south on Highway 395.

In the white Acura Integra were a 17-year-old Minden girl with two passengers – a 16-year-old Pleasant Grove, Utah, girl and a 16-year-old Minden girl.

They were all taken by helicopters to hospitals in critical condition after their vehicle went off the road, hit the median, flew into the air and collided with Snyder’s vehicle just north of Genoa Lane.

Snyder’s vehicle turned a complete circle and came to stop facing south on the road. The Acura then hit another southbound vehicle driven by Christopher Buchanan, 36, of Gardnerville, who suffered minor injuries after his vehicle’s airbag activated.

Nevada Highway Patrol accident investigators spent Monday afternoon clearing the roadway and working to determine what happened. Nicole was pronounced dead at the scene.

“I’m going to miss her …” said Keck.

“She was a teenager and I loved her,” her mother said.

Contact Maggie O’Neill at mo’ or 782-5121, ext. 214.