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In death, Southington teen gives life to others

SOUTHINGTON — Remembering a life taken too soon.

The family of Southington High School senior Julia Bruno speaks out just days after she tragically lost her life in a car accident. Even in death, Julia is giving life to others. She is an organ donor.

Southington High School was obviously closed for Labor Day, but will reopen Tuesday with counselors on staff to help students cope.

“She just lit up the room,” said Lori Miller, Julia’s Aunt. Her Uncle Mike said she was, “Just a pure-hearted person.”

They are taking comfort in the memories.

“Always that smile. With a little dimple smirk,” Lori recalled about Julia.

They are finding strength in family. “She’s got a brother Jake who is 13. They were best friends. He’s just devastated,” said Lori. They are coping with heartbreak. “Why did he take her at 17?,” Lori asked.

Friday, August 30th is forever etched in a nightmare. Julia Bruno was killed in a two car crash in Plantsville at the intersection of the Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike and Clark Street. “Every parents worst nightmare,” said Mike.

Julia was eight days shy of her 18th birthday.

“Your heart dropped. It just took your breath away like someone punched you in the chest,” said Lori. Julia was two days into her Senior year at Southington High School.

“Everybody loved her. She got along with everybody, said Mike.

Her friends took to the field Labor Day weekend for a vigil. It’s where Julia made her athletic impact as a soccer player.

“She was athletic, adventurous, happy go lucky. And she was a jokester, she could make you laugh. And just her smirk when she said something sarcastic.”

With emotion still raw, Julia’s family scrolled through pictures with FOX61 to share her spirit. Pictures of trips to Maryland to see family, and visits to sunflower fields and zip line courses.

Meanwhile, at the accident scene Monday, detectives collected surveillance video from the nearby gas station to determine what caused the crash. More of Julia’s friends gathered around her makeshift memorial where flowers adorn a utility pole.

“Just her laugh. I can hear her laughing,” said Lori. It’s how Julia Bruno lived each moment. Making a mark on the world in a short 17 years.

FOX61 spoke off camera with Julia’s best friend Jenna who said, “She will forever be my best friend an I will never forget her.” Julia had plans to attend CCSU once she graduated and go into childcare. She worked at the local YMCA.

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