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Eureka mourns boy who died in accident

Eureka mourns boy who died in accident

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EUREKA - On the eve of his spring break, second-grader Lucas Hendrickson came home from school, eager to ride his bicycle, only to find one of his tires was flat.

His father, Shane Hendrickson, said: "I got home and he's got it all apart. He can take it apart, but putting it back was stifling him."

So Lucas' father fixed the tire. After dinner, Lucas went bike riding, but he never made it back home.

"No one wants to watch their child die before they do," Shane Hendrickson said.

A pickup truck struck the 8-year-old boy about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the intersection of Calendar and Court streets in Eureka, Coroner Tim Ruestman said Thursday in a prepared statement. Lucas suffered severe head trauma and was dead about an hour later.

The driver of the truck was Shannon D. Burgund, 30, also of Eureka. Burgund, who ran into Rocco's Italian Restaurant and asked someone to call 911, has cooperated with the ongoing investigation, police said.

Lucas' death left family, friends, teachers and classmates grieving Thursday.

Aside from his big smile, Shane Hendrickson said, his family will miss Lucas' heart.

"‘Dad, can I come sit with you? Can I give you a hug or kiss?' Jennifer (Lucas' mother) would tell me and the boys, ‘Have I told you how much I love you?' He would do the same back," Shane Hendrickson said.

Lucas was a spunky, outgoing little boy who always tried to help others, Davenport Elementary School teacher Laurie Chapman said.

"He never knew a stranger," Chapman said. "He was a good helper in the classroom, and he liked to help other students."

After Chapman heard about the accident Wednesday night, she called the parents of the students in her class. She told them a memorial would be set up at Lucas' desk and they could visit the classroom to leave items and receive counseling.

The district is providing support to students, families and community members through counselors and clergy members, who will be at the school until 3 p.m. today. Counselors and clergy members will be available to talk to students when they return from vacation on April 18.

Anyone with questions about support through the school can call Principal Jerry Babbs at (309) 467-3012.

Chapman said parents and students came in and contributed to the memorial. Next to vases of yellow daffodils, Matchbox cars, Beanie Babies and a brightly burning red candle, classmates left pictures they had drawn and notes.

Chapman said Lucas was a very good student and a good reader.

"But he was all boy, and liked to be in the middle of things," Chapman said. "He was respectful but silly sometimes. He was the kind of kid that even when you got upset at him, you couldn't help but love him."

Lucas' great-grandmother Sylvia Micca agreed, calling Lucas "a red-headed, freckle-faced, fun-loving boy. He would come running up to (his great-grandfather) with his arms wide open, ready for a hug."

Chapman said she will leave Lucas' desk, with his name on it, in the classroom through the end of the school year.

"We want to remember him," Chapman said. "We want the kids to realize he's still here in spirit."

Lucas' visitation and funeral will be Sunday at Argo-Ruestman-Harris Funeral Home in Eureka. His obituary is on Page D3.

WEEK-TV contributed to this report.

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