Vigil for Eudora girl killed in hit-and-run crash draws community support in droves

A small town outside of Lawrence is coming together tonight to remember a 9-year-old killed...
A small town outside of Lawrence is coming together tonight to remember a 9-year-old killed over the weekend in a hit-and-run crash.
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 9:36 PM CDT|Updated: May. 20, 2022 at 8:19 AM CDT
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EUDORA, Kan. (KCTV) — A vigil in Eudora Thursday night for 9-year-old Brooklyn Brouhard brought close to 200 people, if not more, together at the community center park.

She was killed in Douglas County on Saturday by a hit-and-run driver while riding on the back of her grandfather’s motorcycle.

Children held bright pink posters with photos of Brooklyn. Her father received hugs through tears.

One of several organizers knew Brooklyn only as the smiling face on the school bus she drove. Her purpose, in part, was to show Brooklyn’s family how much the community hurts for them.

“I have five grandkids. I can’t imagine. I don’t want to imagine. And not knowing Brooklyn on a personal level, this has torn me apart. So, I can’t imagine,” said Loretta Nottingham.

The pastor who led the prayer is a substitute teacher at Brooklyn’s school.

“When you listen to a fourth grade student on Monday who shared a desk with her communicate the sting of… and others that can’t take their eyes off the empty desk in the room, it’s a significant loss. It’ll take time,” said Jeremiah Holcomb, pastor at The Refuge Christian Church in Eudora.

A procession of motorcycles began Thursday’s ceremony, entering the park led by a police escorted. Brooklyn’s grandfather was surrounded by fellow motorcyclists during the prayer service and gathering, sitting in a lawn chair with a cane and a cast around his leg.

The hit and run crash that took Brooklyn’s life happened on Saturday at about 5:15 p.m. according to the sheriff.

The motorcycle her grandfather was driving was on East 1900 Road near the K-10 ramp when a van came up the ramp off the highway, hit the motorcycle, then got back on the highway and sped off.

Earlier this week, investigators found what they believe to be the white van involved but they’ve yet to find the driver. They’re processing the van and asking for tips.

But organizers of the vigil hope seeing all the grief and all the love will convince the driver to come forward and surrender.

“Obviously, this is a person that’s probably living in fear. They’re probably living with shame. And this is a grace in truth moment,” said Holcomb. “If you’re that individual that’s experiencing that fear and that guilt, I hope that you would come forward to clear your own conscience and to help a family that’s grieving a loss such as this.”

“I’m just praying that person comes forward,” said Nottingham. “It’s not gonna bring Brooklyn back. But justice being served could give some peace to the family.”

A GoFundMe set up to help the family with expenses has raised nearly $20,000 as of Thursday night.

The sheriff’s office has asked that anyone who can help identify the driver call 785-843-0250 and reference case number D22-09801.