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Daughter of Blue Jays coach dies in Virginia tubing accident

Rangers Blue Jays Baseball
Posted at 11:54 AM, Jul 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 14:54:43-04

RICHMOND, Va. — Wildlife authorities in Virginia say the 17-year-old daughter of Toronto Blue Jays first base coach Mark Budzinski died in a tubing accident in Richmond on Saturday.

Glen Allen High school student Julia Budzinski was killed while tubing in the James River Saturday when she came into contact with the boat that was pulling her, according to investigators with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.

The 17-year-old was one of two teenagers who were being pulled behind a boat in the James River above Bosher Dam near Old Gun Road in Richmond.

"After the girls fell off of the tube, and the operator was on his way back to get them out of the water, the boat hit a wave causing it to be pushed on top of [Budzinski], striking her with the propeller," a DWR spokesperson wrote in an email. "The operator immediately jumped into the river to rescue the victim, as did another passing boat operator. Once they got the girl out of the water, they rushed back for help."

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A memorial for student Julia Budzinski outside Glen Allen High School in Henrico County, Va.

Budzinski was taken to the hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

According to investigators, neither foul play nor alcohol was considered a factor in the incident.

"DWR sends their condolences to the friends and family during this unimaginable time," the email concluded.

As news of Budzinski's death spread throughout the community over the weekend, a vigil was held Sunday night at Glen Allen High School.

"Lily and I were with her on the boat yesterday. It was a very happy, fun last day on earth for her, sadly, obviously, until till the end," Julia's mother, Monica Budzinski said at the vigil. "She was happy, laughing, having a good time, and that's the way I'm going to remember her. That's the way everybody needs to remember her. She just loved life. She loved being outside, sports, everything."

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Monica and Mark Budzinski speak at a vigil for their daughter Julia at Glen Allen High School on Sunday, July 3, 2022.

"Julia, not only were you a light on this team, but you were such a hard worker, full of life, and you had the best positive outlook on life," Glen Allen High School soccer coach Abbie Dixon posted on social media. "Your work ethic was contagious, and so was your laugh on days we needed it most. We are deeply saddened by this tragedy, but we are comforted knowing that you are our forever teammate in heaven, watching over us."

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Flowers left on the Glen Allen field for student Julia Budzinski.

Budzinski is the daughter of former University of Richmond baseball player and Toronto Blue Jays coach Mark "Bud" Budzinski.

The Major League Baseball team held a moment of silence before Sunday night's game for the Budzinski family.

The team also released a statement offering its condolences.

"The Budzinskis have been part of our Blue Jays family over the last four seasons. This devastating loss is felt by our entire organization, and we grieve alongside Bud and his family," Ross Atkins, Toronto Blue Jays General Manager and EVP of Baseball Operations, said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Mark, Monica, and their children Josh and Lily at this time."

Scott Wise at WTVR first reported this story.