CARROLLTON, KY (WAVE) – Two young lives were cut short in a tragic school bus crash. Nine Carroll County Head Start pre-schoolers were on board when their bus veered off the road and hit a tree.
Several children and the bus monitor were sent to the hospital. Caroline Tuttle, 3, and Ryder Deitz, 3, died at the scene.
The little boy's family said Ryder always sat in the same seat on his bus ride to and from the Carroll County Child Development Center.
When his parents said goodbye to the three year old on Monday, never could they imagine that would be the last time.
"You always know you are going to lose someone, but you never think when they are three," said Ron Deitz, Ryder's father.
Nothing could have prepared Ron and Kelly Deitz for the phone call they got Monday afternoon.
"You have to find something to give you some kind of hope," said Kelly Deitz, Ryder's mother.
Leaning on their faith to get them through this, the family said they are thankful for the memories they do have.
Ryder's grandparents, Nick and Kathy Hatfield, can't help, but smile when they think of his. "He never met a stranger," said Nick Hatfield. "He was just the sweetest little boy. He loved everybody and everybody loved him."
"He was always quick with a hug and kiss," said Kathy Hatfield. "He was always very cuddly and very affectionate."
In his short life, the happy go lucky boy, brought so much joy to so many, especially his brothers. He was the middle of three.
"He was so outgoing and so sweet," said Kelly Deitz. "He loved to say grace before dinner every dinner every night and he would wake up and walk in the room and say good morning and just be so happy."
Kelly said her son loved his backpack and loved going to school.
"He was just so thankful for everything," said Kelly. The family says they will be forever thankful for his life, knowing it won't be easy to go on without him there.
"You never know when something like this can happen," said Nick Hatfield.
Three children are still at Kosair Children's Hospital as of Tuesday night. Two remain in the ICU in stable condition, a third is listed in good condition.
Kosair personnel credit seat belts on the school bus for preventing more serious injuries. Police are still investigating the crash. Everyone at Kosair is expected to make a full recovery, but some will be kept for a few days.
Caroline Tuttle's family did not want to comment at this time.
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725 S. Floyd Street
Louisville, KY 40203