Elmira community grieves, offers support following 7-year-old's death
ELMIRA, Ore. - The Elmira community is in mourning after 7-year-old Hunter Heineman died in a car accident over the weekend.
Hunter's mom Ashley Russell says she and her family spent Saturday playing in the snow.
On their way back from the trip they were in a crash.
They were on Highway 58 when Oregon State Police say another driver lost control of his car and crashed into them.
The rest of the family survived with injuries. Hunter died at the scene.
He was a first grader at Elmira Elementary School, where staff fondly remember him as a "spitfire"; they say he was a great kid and full of energy.
School is back in session tomorrow after winter break. Staff members are preparing to help returning students and families that are mourning.
That includes bringing in counselors from other area school districts and having substitutes ready in case teachers need a break.
"Obviously when you're dealing with such a young student, 7 years old, it's the reaction of his good friends tomorrow in class will be a challenge to the classroom teacher and just the building as a whole," Fern Ridge School District Superintendent Gary Carpenter said.
They'll also have safe rooms for students and parents who need a place to grieve.
Russell, Hunter's mom, says the outpouring of community support is unbelievable.
She wants to thank everyone who's been helping them.
They also have a Go Fund Me page to help with expenses.