A 7-year-old Fairbury girl died Sunday night after being hit by a pickup.
Fairbury Police Chief Chad Sprunk said Krista C. Medina was playing a little after 6:30 in the 800 block of H Street, where she lived. She ran out onto the brick paved street and was hit by a northbound 2000 Dodge pickup driven by 69-year-old Joseph A. Hynek of Fairbury.
Hynek stopped his truck on the fairly busy street and shouted for help, Sprunk said.
Fairbury police found Medina’s small body on the lawn of a nearby home. The Jefferson County Ambulance Service took her to the Jefferson Community Health Center, where she died of the injuries she suffered, according to a news release from the police department.
Hynek was taken to the same hospital for evaluation and was later released.
Central Elementary School Principal Jeremy Christiansen remembered Krista, who was in the first grade, as a happy, caring child who always wore a smile and gave out hugs freely. He said she worked hard in school and her parents, Daniel Medina and Courtney Nicholson, were supportive of her.
He said he met Krista’s family at the hospital on Sunday to offer condolences and support. In a town the size of Fairbury, Christiansen said, educators get to know students and their families well.
"I think that, obviously, at that moment they were still very much in shock about what happened, but very appreciative of those who were reaching out to them in support,” he said Monday. “There was a lot of family support, which was really positive. Their family really will be able to pull together to be able to support each other.”
Students had Monday off school for a planned work day for teachers.
Christiansen said Krista’s classmates will be told the basics of what happened. She attended both kindergarten and preschool at Central.
“We anticipate they will have lots of questions and stories that they will want to share,” he said. “Then we’ll set aside some time for our kids to remember Krista.”
The school district's crisis team has met, and counselors will be available throughout the week to speak with children, teachers and members of the public.
Teachers will have projects prepared to help deal with the tragedy, including writing, drawing or making cards for Krista’s family, Christiansen said.
Sprunk said Monday that a preliminary report shows Hynek was driving at or below the 25 mph speed limit. The Nebraska State Patrol worked with Fairbury police to reconstruct the accident.
Alcohol is not believed to have been a factor in the incident. Authorities have not issued any citations and don’t expect to, Sprunk said.
Funeral services for Krista are set for 11 a.m. Friday at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Fairbury. She is survived by her mom and dad, a brother, two half-brothers, a half-sister, grandparents and an aunt and uncle.