Mourners dwell not on girl's death but on her spirit
HAPPY VALLEY, Ore. - Friends and family gathered Thursday to remember Angie Hernandez, the 11-year-old girl who died when she fell out of the window of a private bus.
It was just last weekend the family's little girl, who was so excited to go to her cousin's birthday party, was so suddenly taken from them.
And it was hard to imagine how they were able to get through the day, but it helped to have the incredible support from several hundred people who packed the church and overflowed out the doors. All of whom were touched by Angie's life.
In addition to not being enough room in the church, there wasn't enough time in the day for everyone to share why Angie was such a special girl.
Her mother and father found the strength to briefly speak to everyone in attendance and thank them for their support. But for a mother faced with the horrible fate of burying her own child, it was too painful to share happy memories.
"My heart is broken," she said through a translator.
As many tears as there were, the community and family made sure the service was not a time to dwell on Angie's tragic death; instead, it was a chance to celebrate her 11 years of life.
"She was such a great spirit, and honestly if you had the chance to even talk to her once, you were the luckiest person in the world, because there wasn't one day when she wouldn't smile, even when she was mad," said Aylin Salas Lara, Angie's cousin and the girl whose birthday they were celebrating that tragic night.
Angie's pictures covered the church along with notes from her friends and other children who knew her and didn't have a chance to say goodbye.
But during the service some friends and family took comfort in believing that while Angie is no longer here, her spirit is very much alive and watching over them from heaven.
In a program handed out at the service, her family left everyone with a poem, asking them to celebrate her life. In part it reads, "You can remember her and only that she is gone or you can cherish her memory and let it live on."
The federal government is now investigating Five Star Limousine, the company in charge of the party bus Angie was on. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is looking into its safety practices.
KATU News discovered earlier this week Five star Limousine did not have permits to operate in the city of Portland, and the driver didn't have the proper driver's license. We also learned that the company has a history of operating vehicles without the proper permits and had been warned and fined in the past.