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Hinckley father grateful for community support after two children killed in Michigan accident

Posted at 5:00 PM, Jul 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-06 17:28:27-04

One moment, Barry Haun was debating where he was going to watch the Fourth of July fireworks near his Hinckley home, the next he was racing to southeast Michigan after his children were involved in an unthinkable accident.

What happened to 16-year-old Alyssa Haun and her 13-year-old brother, Justin Haun, is a painful reminder of just how fragile life can be.

"Hug your kids every day and make sure they know you love them," Barry said.

Around 12:30 p.m. on July 4, Alyssa and Justin were walking on a private lawn in Bedford Township, Michigan when the driver of a 2009 Ford F-150 pickup truck inexplicably left the road and hit the siblings. They died at a Toledo, Ohio hospital. The brother and sister were only a few houses away from their mother's home when they were struck.

RELATED: Hinckley teen, sibling struck, killed in Michigan car crash on July 4th

Barry said community support is helping him get through the tragedy each day.

"Even though everyone thinks the words thoughts and prayers are meaningless, they are not," he said. "Everyone gives us strength and it means so much to us."

Alyssa was on the cross-country and speech and debate teams at Highland High School and would have started her junior year later this summer. She loved school and recently told her dad she wanted to be a chemical engineer.

Justin was entering his freshman year at Bedford High School in Monroe County, Michigan. He was outgoing, also part of a cross-country team and hoped to be a neurosurgeon.

"We were blessed. They were great students, never had to worry about them," Barry said.

On Friday, grief counselors were on hand at Highland High School where a memorial of flowers, candles and personal messages continues to grow.

Barry, who is also an avid runner, is grateful for the support he is receiving from the running community. The kind words, gestures and prayers are appreciated by the family as they try to comprehend why this happened,

"When you have this kind of grief, you're not gonna know why it happened. I can try to figure out how and I can try to figure out what happened. I can't answer why," he said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up on be behalf of the Haun family. All of the money raised will be used to provide scholarships in the names of Alyssa and Justin and, or be donated to charity.

"They wanted to change the world. Their opportunity to do that in person is gone, but we want to take advantage of people's willingness to help," Barry said.

The family is planning two services for the children. One will take place on July 14 in Bedford Township, Michigan. The second service will take place in the Hinckley area on a date to be determined.

The driver of the pickup was not injured. Two passengers fled the scene when the truck came to a stop, according to officers.

The accident remains under investigation by the Monroe County Sheriff's Department. No charges have been filed. Police said texting, speed and alcohol did not appear to be factors in the crash.