INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The school yard outside of George Julian School 57 was lit up with candles as dozens from the Irvington community remembered 7-year-old Hannah Crutchfield, who died Tuesday after she, her mother, and crossing guard Mike Sykes were hit in a multi-vehicle crash in a school zone.
A memorial filled with stuffed animals, flowers, and balloons now fills the steps outside of the Indianapolis Public School facility right in front of where the crash happened near Washington Street at Ritter Avenue.
“To think about them and honor them, get some consolation and know that we are all together as a community,” Robin Brandenburg, who organized the vigil, said of its purpose.
Community members came together Wednesday night to pray for the family whose lives are forever changed by this tragic event.
“Devastation,” parent Dennis Miles said. “Devastation. I couldn’t imagine as a parent especially doing the responsible thing, escorting your child to and from school and to have something like that happen is devastating.”
The crowd was led in song to close out the night with a tribute to the young life taken much too soon.
The crossing guard who was injured in the crash, Mike Sykes, was able to attend the vigil. He was met with lines of students and parents from his community thanking him for his work and joy that he is able to continue his life as a husband and as a father to his 3 children ages 9,4, and 1.
Sykes was released from the hospital the night of the crash and was able to attend the vigil with his family. He had only been on the job for a few months before the crash. He says he is still shaken up and can’t believe one of his students is gone.
Sykes’ wife says that he loves kids and he loves his job. She says he had formed a connection with Crutchfield and her family. He plans to return to his roll as a crossing guard at the school once he is healed.
“I see him daily, literally twice a day and he is such a wonderful human being and he is great at his job,” parent Michelle Roberts said of Sykes.
People who live in the area say with all the construction going on around Indianapolis the streets surrounding the school have become congested at times and a hot spot for speeding vehicles.
“It is a dangerous area,” Roberts said. “There is a lot of speeding … We literally have two schools here back to back.”