Bystanders tried to save girl, 12, who died in pileup

Sammy Reagan (Source: Kings Local Schools)
Sammy Reagan (Source: Kings Local Schools)
A memorial set up for Sammy at King's
A memorial set up for Sammy at King's
Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

SOUTH LEBANON, OH (FOX19) - The community is mourning the loss of a 12-year-old girl who died during an 86-car pileup on Interstate 275 on Monday.

Sammy was a sixth grader at Columbia Elementary.

Counselors and psychologists were on hand at the school all day on Tuesday talking to students and staff. The staff was gathered and notified early in the morning and prepped to handle questions from the students.

The rest of the school learned the tragic news from the principal over the morning announcements.

Some bystanders tried to save Sammy's life, including Aaron Foster, who missed the pileup by mere seconds.

"Everything was clear and then over the course of 30 seconds it was a white out, the roads were slick, people started sliding around," said Foster.

Foster was on his way to visit his parents in Ross when the pileup started. He initially stopped to assist two women who were stuck in their vehicle.

"As soon as it came it was gone," Foster said of the snow.

What the burst of snow left behind were 86 vehicles and a group of strangers trying to save a 12-year-old's life.

"Out of the corner of my eye I saw what I thought was a piece of a car that flew through the median, and I ran up, and it was a little girl."

Foster quickly covered her with his jacket, and waited for the assistance of an off-duty firefighter and a nurse.

"We turned her over, he breathed for her and I did compressions and the nurse got on the phone with 911 and we just waited for somebody to come."

Foster said it felt like 20 minutes until emergency crews could reach them. Just cars behind, Sammy Reagan's mother was also at the scene.

"I can't imagine going through that," Foster added. "As shocked as I was with the circumstances, I can't imagine being a parent and going through that."

Now the Kings community is grieving together, remembering the bright personality of a daughter, twin, and big sister.

"The first thing they talk about was her smile," said Valerie Brown, superintendent of Kings Local Schools. "And it was a contagious smile. She somebody who everybody liked to be around."

"She was definitely a very vivacious little girl," added Julie Cabral. "And she touched other students in a very positive way."

Now those students want to help the Reagan family cope with the loss of Sammy.

"Some are writing letters to the family," Cabral said. "One counselor suggested making a paper chain with memories or different things about Sammy that they wanted to pass along to the family."

Cabral added that the best way for everyone in the Kings community, or who was involved in Monday's accident, to cope is to talk about it with family and friends.

A visitation for Sammy Reagan will be held on Thursday at Rivers Crossing Community Church, located at 5937 Kings Island Drive, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Her funeral is at Hope Church, 4934 Western Row Road in MAson on Friday, Jan. 25 at 3:30 p.m.

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