Two children killed in accident at Florida fun park

Two children killed in accident at Florida fun park
Two children died after a vehicle ran into a Panama City Beach mini-golf course Friday afternoon. (Source: WJHG)

SOUTHERN INDIANA (News and Tribune) - An outpouring of support has come in after two children whose family has deep ties to this area were killed at a Florida golf course last week.

Baylor Matthew Kirchgessner, 4, and Addie Carolyn Kirchgessner, 6, died Dec. 4 after being struck by a truck while playing miniature golf at the Coconut Creek Family Fun Park in Panama City Beach.

Their mother, Lauren, is a teacher in Louisville and their father, Matt, owns Elk Run Golf Club in Jeffersonville. Matt Kirchgessner lived in New Albany and graduated from New Albany High School. The family now resides in Louisville.

Lauren Kirchgessner said Tuesday they are devastated but grateful to first responders. Their son died at the scene. His sister was pronounced dead at the hospital.

“The outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming,” she said. 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. The accident is under investigation.

A GoFundMe page started several days ago to assist the parents with travel, funeral and other expenses describes the children as “Energetic, fun loving, and huge personalities, these tiny people touched the lives of so many.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 3,000 people had donated more than $180,000 to support the family.

Baylor was a pre-schooler at St. Lawrence Catholic Church and Addie was a first-grader at Notre Dame Academy in Louisville.

Visitation for the children will be will be Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Northside Christian Church in the Centrum. The church is at 4407 Charlestown Road, New Albany. The family will hold a private service and burial. A full obituary is on Page A4 of today’s News and Tribune.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks memorial contributions be made to St. Lawrence Preschool and or Notre Dame Academy, 1927 Lewiston Drive, Louisville, Ky. 40216.

The GoFundMe link to support the family can be found at https://bit.ly/kirchgessnergofundme.