School honors classmate killed in accident 30 minutes after her - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

School honors classmate killed in accident 30 minutes after her mom is killed

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An Alabama a woman and her young daughter died in separate accidents on the same highway in DeKalb County, just 30 minutes and a few miles apart.

Thirty nine-year-old Julia Yates Patterson died in a head-on crash with a pickup truck about 3:00 Tuesday afternoon in Valley Head. Thirty minutes later, and less than seven miles away, her 8-year-old daughter Libby ran in front of a car and was struck and killed.

Friday Libby's school held an emotional vigil, with classmates paying tribute to their friend.

Students and teachers gathered outside Moon Lake Elementary School for a balloon release for their friend Libby. It has been an emotional week for the school, but the staff said having the community's support has helped them through this tragedy.

She may have only been eight years old, but Libby Patterson will always be remembered by her peers and teachers, as one of a kind. “We are not going to forget her. She left a lasting impact on us,” said a teacher at the school.

A group gathered not far from where Libby once played. Students embraced and cried together as they released balloons in her honor.

“Certainly surprises you how many people will come together over something like this. Makes you realize you're never really alone,” said her older brother Ethan Burch.

It was a beautiful tribute to remember a bright little girl, who lives on in so many hearts. “Her life, she was vibrant. She was happy all the time, everyone's friend. Like I said, very colorful,” said Principal Mary Lance.

Emotions continued when Libby’s uncle visited her classroom. Her empty desk, now filled with flowers and cards, made by the little lives she touched.  “Finalization, she is not going to be here anymore.”

A school now needing each other more than ever. Teachers reminding students of one thing: a hug or gesture goes along way, when words mean nothing.

“A smile, a hug, a note of encouragement. This will go so far in helping us remember the angel we knew as Libby Patterson.”

And they encourage the Moon Lake School community to live life each and every day with grace, love and happiness; in honor of Libby. “Her smile, she always had one on, I'm never going to see that smile again,” said Burch.

Counselors have been at the school for students and staff during the grieving process. The funerals for Libby and her mother will be Saturday.

Family members said the accidents are unrelated.

READ MORE | UPDATE: Alabama woman, daughter killed in separate crashes 30 minutes apart 

The little girl did not know about the crash that had taken the life of her mother thirty minutes earlier. Alabama troopers are still investigating. As of now, no charges are pending in either crash.

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