'We just want to know what happened': Family mourns loss of girl, 11

ALOHA, Ore. - Minutes before the crash, 11-year-old Kylie Hornych had just finished her homework and was playing in her front yard with her younger sister, Kyrah.

The family was about to go to a science fair. Suddenly, her parents heard a loud noise from their bedroom, family members said Friday.

A driver, identified as David Herman of Hillsboro, had crashed a vehicle in the front yard, hitting Kylie, before careening into the house.

"She was just sitting waiting for the science fair. I was right behind her," said her father Daniel Hornych. "I tried to resuscitate her. I tried so hard, I couldn't save her. She died in my arms."

Kylie was rushed to the hospital but could not be saved.

"By the time I got (to the hospital), she was already gone," said Kylie's grandmother, Carolyn Duffy.

Family members, classmates and school officials on Friday were mourning the loss of Kylie, a girl described by family as sensitive and caring.

"She was the sweetest little girl ever," remembered Kylie's aunt, Tracie Thompson.

Grief counselors were on hand at Kylie's school, Beaverton's Chehalem Elementary School, where she was a fifth-grader. Outside the house at 160th Avenue and Southwest Medallion Lane, a makeshift memorial of toys and flowers had materialized by midday Friday.

Kylie loved animals, loved to draw, her aunt and grandmother said, and was really thoughtful about sending notes to family.

"She would love to message us on Facebook," Duffy said.

The investigation into what caused the crash is still ongoing. Investigators say they don't believe 59-year-old Herman was intoxicated and don't know what caused the crash. Herman was taken to the hospital for tests.

Friday afternoon, there was still no word from Washington County sheriff's investigators on possible factors in the crash.

Thompson said her family is devastated and are seeking answers.

"This is heart wrenching for our family," Thompson said in a Facebook message to KATU. "It's senseless. We just want to know what happened."

Kylie's family has set up a fund at U.S. Bank for donations to help cover funeral expenses. The fund is called the "Kylie Hornych memorial fund."

Tips on coping with tragedy

The Beaverton School District issued a statement with tips for educators and parents on how to talk with children about tragedies.

  • Spend time talking with your child: Let kids know it's OK to express their true emotions.
  • Help children feel safe: Encourage kids to voice concerns to parents and teachers.
  • Limit media exposure.
  • Seek professional help: If your child's behavior or reactions don't diminish with time, seek out a mental health professional.
  • Take care of yourself: Take time to rest and do what you like.
  • Help each other: Talk with other relatives and friends to support each other.

KATU reporter Emily Sinovic contributed to this report