‘They were a joy to be around:’ Mothers of children who died running to bus speak out

UPDATE: The mothers of the two cousins who were struck and killed by a tractor-trailer while running to their school bus in Buckingham County Thursday morning spoke out for the first time.

The mothers of Tori Perez, 5, and Jaiden Bartee, 6, along with their spokesperson updated the community at the BB&T Bank parking lot in Dillwyn Monday morning.

Mother of Jaiden Bartee, Justina Barber, reflected on her ‘precious’ son and cousin, saying the two cousins did everything together.

“They went to school together, they played together, they ate together, and they are up in heaven together,” Barber said.

She continued with saying she feels sorry for those who didn’t get to meet them and that they were a joy to be around.

“When I think about them I think about joy,” she said.

Sabrina Green, Tori Perez’s mother, spoke out to say how special she and her daughter’s relationship was.

“Me and my baby girl had a bond that nobody else could take away from us,” Perez said.

Barber also gave advice to fellow mothers.

“As a mother, I would tell all mothers to just cherish every moment that you have with your child because you never know,” she said.


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BUCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Friends and community members are coming together to raise money for the family of the children who died Thursday morning in Buckingham County while waiting to get on the school bus.

A Go Fund Me page was created by friends of the family to help raise money to aid in expenses following the death of Tori Perez, 5, and Jaiden Bartee, 6, who were cousins and classmates in kindergarten at the Buckingham County Primary School.

If you would like to make a donation to help the family, you can do so by going to this website.

Otherwise, according to the Go Fund Me page, if you would like to make a donation and don’t want to do it online, you can drop the donation off at Helton House, Inc. located at 24478 Prince Edward Highway in Rice, Virginia 23966. Helton House is the employer of Janice Barber, the grandmother and great aunt of the children.

The family of the children is set to update the community Monday at 11 a.m. in the parking lot BB&T Bank on James Madison Highway in Dillwyn.

For more coverage of what happened, check here.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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