MAXTON, N.C. — A little girl killed as she prepared to go to school Tuesday has been laid to rest.
Sheila Hernandez was just 6 years old. Her family and friends are struggling to deal with their emotions.
The darkness on the outside of RB Dean Elementary School equaled the darkness inside the building Sunday as a father, classmates and school leaders said goodbye to Sheila.
As those who came to mourn the kindergarten student were soothed by song, school principal Richard Dixon tried to help them understand why a little girl was taken so soon.
"Sheila may be our loss, but she's Heaven's gain," Dixon said. "Another soldier has gone home to be at rest with the Lord. So we say to Sheila: 'Sleep on. We love you, but God loves you best.'"
Sheila died Tuesday when a tractor trailer slammed into the back of her school bus as she was getting on. A number of students were hurt, including 9-year-old Omar Williams, who was sitting in the back of the bus.
"The back window was busted, and a friend of mine had a big piece of glass in his head," Williams said, "and another friend got left on the bus, and I tried to get him up, but I couldn't."
Williams has a long recovery ahead.
"He's got two deep skull fractures over an eye, and his nose is broken," his mother said. "His teeth are broken up a bit. He can't eat that much. He's hungry, and you want to feed him, but he can't eat."
For Omar's family, prayer is a big help. For Sheila's family, the pain is still as deep as Sunday was dark.
Another service for Sheila was held Sunday afternoon at St. Andrews Catholic Church in Red Springs.
Sheila's mother was not able to attend either service. She was hurt when she tried to save Sheila and is still recovering in the hospital.
The truck driver, Gary Garnett, was released from the hospital earlier this week.