Friends and Family Remember 3-year-old at Vigil

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter


By Jill Kasparie

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Mourners gathered tonight to remember a little girl who died too soon.

Hailey Rose Bessert, 3, died in a car crash in Benton County over the weekend.

The child's father, Jason Bessert, and her father's girlfriend, Valerie Schneiders, were also killed in the crash near Keystone Saturday night. They all lived in Cedar Rapids.

The Benton County Sheriff's Department says Raul Salazer, 39, was behind the wheel of a pickup truck when he ran a stop sign at 16th Avenue and Highway 30, slamming into their car.

The Thursday night vigil was a chance for people to just come together, comfort each other and for some just to cry. There's one thing for sure: Hailey will be missed.

More than a hundred people filled Diamond sports Park in Cedar Rapids. Some people hardly knew Hailey or her family, but wanted to show support. Little sparkling candles filled the grounds at the park.

Then, one by one, people lit their own candles for Hailey.

Organizers said this was one little girl who never really got the chance to really even live.

“She has a huge heart and she really touched a lot of people's lives and I just want to thank everybody that came out,” said Vigil Organizer Stephanie Corkery.

Organizers will use any donations from the night to help Hailey's mother with funeral costs. They're also selling bracelets.

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