UPDATE: Alabama woman, daughter killed in separate crashes 30 minutes apart
Alabama state troopers are investigating both deaths, which occurred about 7 miles (11 kilometers) apart on Alabama 117.
An Alabama woman and her young daughter died in separate traffic accidents on the same highway only 30 minutes apart.
39-year-old Julia ("Julie") Yates Patterson died in a head-on crash with a pickup truck about 3 p.m. Tuesday in northeast Alabama. Police said one of the vehicles crossed the center line before the crash.
Less than seven miles away, along the same stretch of highway, Patterson's 8-year-old daughter Libby ran in front of a car and was struck and killed about 30 minutes later. Family says the child had just gotten home from elementary school and did not know about her mother's death.
Patterson's cousin said Libby had just turned eight years old on Saturday, and their family had a big party for the girl.
Now, Dean Freeman said, they are busy planning Libby and Julie's funeral.
"All the local police and the county said all their years of working they have never, ever come upon something like this. Ever," Freeman said.
It's a tragedy that has crushed the small town of Valley Head.
Police said Julie was driving on Alabama HWY 117 around 3 pm Tuesday, on her way to pick up Libby from the school bus.
Freeman said Julie was running late.
"Julie was trying to rush home and get to her because she had to pick her up off the bus," Freeman said.
Along the way, she collided with a truck just outside the Valley Head Food Mart.
Cashier Amber Headrick rushed to call 911.
"It was devastating, it was very bad. It was very bad," Headrick said.
Just a short time later, a few miles down the same road, Libby was crossing the highway and was struck by a car.
"They were really good people though, they were a really good family, they would help anybody," Headrick said.
Their family is leaning on each other for support and comfort.
"Just talk about the good times, that about all you can do," Freeman said, "Is talk about the good times."
Freeman is sharing a message to everyone with children, "Hug them, tell them you love them, because stuff like this it's just awful."
Funeral Arrangements for Julie and Libby are as follows: Visitation will be held Friday, March 24th, 4:00pm-8:00pm at Burt's Chapel in Valley Head. The funeral service will be Saturday, March 25th, at 11 a.m. at Burt's Chapel in Valley Head. Burial will be at Violet Hill Cemetery.
Donations that will go toward funeral expenses can be sent directly to Burt's Chapel at 2100 Gault Ave N Ft. Payne, AL 35967 or through this Go Fund Me page.
Alabama state troopers are still investigating the cause of both deaths. At this time no charges have been filed.