PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The mother of two young children fatally struck by a truck as they played miniature golf at a Florida course said they are devastated but grateful to first responders.
Lauren and Matt Kirchgessner were visiting from Louisville, Kentucky, when the children were killed Friday. Charges were pending as the crash remains under investigation.
Their 4-year-old son Baylor died at the scene. His 6-year-old sister Addie was pronounced dead at the hospital. The family said they are waiting for the medical examiner’s office to return the children’s bodies so they can go home.
“The outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming,” said Lauren Kirchgessner. Listing the different departments of first responders, she added, “We’re having a terrible time, but I’m sure anyone who had to work that accident is having a terrible time.”
The couple has arranged to have meals sent to the first responders at various agencies, calling them heroes.
“We always taught (our kids), even in tragic situations, we always taught them to remember the heroes,” she told the Panama City News Herald.
The Panama City Beach police said in a news release that the driver, Scott Donaldson, veered from the road and ended up in the course, striking the two young siblings.
A GoFundMe page describes the children as “energetic, fun loving, and huge personalities.”
As of Tuesday night, donors had raised nearly $175,000.