By Jerome Tharaud/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
An 8-year old girl was killed in an all-terrain vehicle accident on her family's farm north of Rudyard, the Hill County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.
Lexi Anderson, 8, was driving a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle 3 miles north of Rudyard late Tuesday afternoon when she apparently lost control of the vehicle, either when the vehicle hit a "buffalo wallow," a natural indentation in the ground, or when she tried to avoid it, Hill County deputy coroner Steve Sapp said today. She was thrown from the 250-pound vehicle, a recent-model Yamaha 80 Raptor, and it overturned, Sapp said. It was unclear if the vehicle landed on her, he said.
Lexi, who was wearing a helmet, suffered head and upper chest injuries, Sapp said. She had been driving some form of all-terrain vehicle for two to three years, he said.
She was discovered seven to 15 minutes later by two of the farm's hired men, Sapp said.
Lexi was not breathing and had no pulse, he said.
Hill County dispatch received a call at 4:55 p.m. A Hill County sheriff's deputy responded to the scene, Sheriff Greg Szudera said.
Lexi, a second-grader at Blue Sky Schools, was rushed by ambulance to Liberty County Hospital and Nursing Home in Chester. Efforts to revive her were unsuccessful and she was pronounced dead by a doctor at 5:42 p.m., Sapp said.
Lexi was the daughter of Craig and Twyla Anderson.
Lexi's teacher, Ann Warhank, remembered her today as a strong student who was "willing to help anybody." Lexi was lighthearted and loved to be outdoors, Warhank said.
"She was a girl of very high potential. She was always wanting to help, and to help others," Warhank said.
On Wednesday students in Warhank's combined first- and second-grade class remembered their classmate, she said.
"We just talked about Lexi and cried and answered some of the questions the counselors had," said Warhank, who had also taught Lexi in kindergarten.
She said it will be a while before her class can come to terms with the tragedy.
"I think they're like me, hoping that it was somehow a dream or a mistake," she said.
Lexi's mother was a teacher's aide in the class.
"So the kids are kind of struggling with that too. Not only is Lexi gone, but Mrs. Anderson will be gone, at least for a while," Warhank said.
Blue Sky Schools Superintendent Terry Grant said Wednesday that losing a student in a small school - Blue Sky Schools has about 110 students - is like losing a family member.
"If you lose a family member, that's the feeling we're dealing with," said Grant, who added that he had not previously had to deal with the loss of a student in the 27 years he has been in education.