Community mourns loss of local girls running coach killed in Florida crash
Ciara Zimprich and her 14-year-old son Maguire were killed in a tragic car crash while vacationing for New Year’s
COTTAGE GROVE, Wis. (WMTV) - A Cottage Grove family is without two of its members after tragedy struck on vacation. The pain of this loss is felt community-wide, and people close to the Zimprichs are sharing the memories they will hang on to forever.
A Horrific Crash
The Zimprichs were on a trip in south Florida, looking to ring in the New Year together. It was Dec. 31, 2021 when Dan and Ciara Zimprich were pulling into a McDonald’s with their 14-year-old son Maguire and a driver t-boned their car.
According to the police report, the Zimprich’s car rotated across the road and onto the sidewalk, struck a light pole on the vehicle’s driver side and came to rest between the sidewalk and road.
Ciara was rushed to a hospital where she was later pronounced dead. Maguire suffered serious brain damage and died about two weeks later. Dan spent some time in the hospital and was released. The Zimprich’s daughter, Mackenzie, was not in the car at the time.
The driver of the vehicle that hit them was also taken to a hospital. It is unknown if he will face charges.
This unimaginable loss has many in the community remembering the Zimprichs, Ciara and Maguire, for the incredible people they were.
A GoFundMe for the family describes Maguire as “the quick-witted kid that always had a comeback,” who “loved his scooter and rode it everywhere he could.” He enjoyed playing sports and spending time with friends.
Those who knew Ciara say that while she was small in stature, she made a huge impact on the lives of everyone she met. Through the sports memorabilia business she ran with her husband Dan, to helping out with all the sports and school activities her children were in, to volunteering her time as a coach for Girls on the Run.
That’s how Josh Satzer knew Ciara. His daughter Mary joined Ciara’s GOTR team in September 2020 at the height of the pandemic when times were tough.
“Nobody quite knew how to navigate things at that time and we all needed other people to step up and be examples,” Josh said. “People who I would classify as people who would be willing to run into the fire.”
That was Ciara: someone who continued to inspire girls even in the darkest of times. Josh said you could see Ciara’s heart through the way she coached GOTR. Spending hours marking the 5k routes, hosting parties before and after races, giving the lesson plans her all.
“The mental health of those girls and the people she impacted will really go a long way,” he said tearfully.
Ciara coached for 10 seasons, staying involved long after her daughter Mackenzie aged out of the program. Not only did she inspire the girls on her team, she inspired parents to get involved too.
Jenny Ruark recalls a convincing conversation while driving Ciara home from a fundraiser she had organized for Jenny’s daughter’s GOTR team.
“[Ciara] said how can I get you involved? She said we need some more coaches, or we might not be able to hold Girls on the Run at East Side, so I signed up to coach not knowing what I was walking into,” Ruark said.
She coached with Ciara for one season, learning from Ciara about how to conduct the lesson plans in a meaningful way.
“[Ciara] was great at just making everyone feel like a team and everyone feel involved and then just getting us to think a little deeper about what we were learning that day,” Ruark said.
Angie Herbrand, another GOTR coach whose daughter was on Ciara’s GOTR team, says Ciara loved coaching because it “pushed her to be a better person.”
In an email, Herbrand shared her memories of Ciara.
“Always thinking of other people - always generous and giving, always ready to help anyone at a moment’s notice, even if she barely knew them,” Herbrand said. “And the lady had ENERGY. My goodness, did she have energy.”
Herbrand described Ciara’s work as being demanding at times, but she always made it to her kid’s events with a smile on her face.
“Ciara lived her life at a hundred miles an hour,” said Ruark. “She was doing more in a week than I feel like a lot of us do in a year.”
Since Ciara and Maguire’s deaths, there has been an outpouring of community support. The GoFundMe has raised more than $32,000 to help with any costs insurance won’t cover.
A person close to the family says organ donation was important to the Zimprichs. Ciara and Maguire’s organs will be donated to help others in need.
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