Local News

Raleigh family coping with loss of 5-year-old

Posted May 30, 2011 2:04 p.m. EDT
Updated May 30, 2011 7:07 p.m. EDT

— Family members of a 5-year-old girl killed Sunday afternoon while playing on a neighbor's front porch are reeling from the tragedy that took the life of their "special little girl."

"She was a very happy baby, very happy," her mother, Rachelle Gross, said Monday.

Raleigh police say Gross' daughter, Nadia Hines, died when a car, driven by Sia Elizabeth Byass, crashed into the steps outside 4916-A N. New Hope Road.

Four-year-old Kamyah Wright was injured in the crash but was treated and released from a local hospital.

Nadia's father, Harvey Hines, said he was inside preparing to cook a barbecue dinner for family and friends when he saw a car driving into the yard.

"I just rushed outside to see what happened, and what I saw was devastating," he said.

Now, he is leaning on family, friends and faith to help cope with his loss.

"We are a God-fearing family, and we know God has His hand on us right now," he said. "He's here for us."

Still, family members say, it's a difficult time for them. On this Memorial Day, all they have left are memories.

Nadia, Hines said, had a smile that made an impression on just about everyone who met her.

"She was a happy baby, a happy child, that loved to play and loved to get to know you and wanted you to get to know her," he said.

"Nadia could feel when you're upset," he added. "She could feel our emotions when we were going through something."

She was getting ready to graduate next month from pre-kindergarten and was excited to go to kindergarten next year at Wakefield Elementary School.

She loved McDonald's chicken nuggets, singing gospel music and Justin Bieber songs and had an American Idol impression that her father just couldn't get enough of.

"'You're going to Hollywood!" she would say," Hines said. "I have to have her do it at least five times. I get a kick out of it."

Nadia also leaves behind a 7-year-old sister, Miracle, who has asked when her sister would be coming home.

"Nadia's in heaven, and she's looking down on us, and she's in a better place," Hines said. "(Miracle now) understands that."

Raleigh police said Byass, 37, lost control of her car on New Hope Road and crashed into the steps where Nadia was playing.

Byass, who is charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, careless and reckless driving, was released from jail Sunday after posting bond. Police said she was also driving with unsafe tires that created a hazard to the public.

Her first court appearance is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday. She could not be reached for comment Monday.

Funeral arrangements for Nadia were not complete Monday evening.