Community prayer for lives lost

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Community gathers after two people killed in crash

SULLIVAN, Ill. (WCIA) — People are joining hands and standing together to honor two people who died after an SUV crashed into a bus Friday. There was a group prayer at Sullivan Elementary School to show support for those who are grieving and dealing with the loss.

“In tragic moments like this we need help from each other,” said Jim Plank.

They’re choosing to wrap their arms and hearts around each other.

“I was contacted by one of the teachers who had an idea and so I wanted to work with them as closely as possible to really surround the school building,” said Grant Wade, “sort of like giving the community a hug of love.”

There was a crash between a school bus and an SUV. The SUV driver, 56-year old Lori Samples, and a student on the bus, 5-year old Tyson Mendoza died. Mendoza was a student at Sullivan Elementary.

“There’s a feeling of hopelessness right away. Hopelessness. What do we do? Where do we turn,” said Wade.

“When our children came home, we took the time to have a conversation with them, and also ask the question do you have any questions,” said Jamie Crosier.

“It was the shortness of life and no promise of tomorrow I think became a reality,” said Plank.

In the obituary, Mendoza’s family says he was a great student who loved to learn and make new friends. He was the sweetest and most loving little boy. Tyson’s smile and tender heart will be deeply missed.

As for Samples, she was a staff member at our Lady of Lourdes School.

“No matter what happens, there are people here to support you. We’re here to see each other through this tragedy,” said Wade.

Monday students and staff will dress in blue to honor Tyson because it was his favorite color. There are several other schools in Central Illinois wearing blue and raising money in Tyson’s name.

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