Six-year-old Addyson Engle was with one of her best friends when an accident on Interstate 65 took her life and that of her cousin, 11-year-old Keghan McCrory-Engle.
Bryannah Reynolds, also 6, was a passenger in the SUV that struck the back of a semitrailer Thursday. She survived and was listed in fair condition Friday at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.
Addyson and Bryannah had bonded over shared interests and time spent together, family and friends said.
Addyson, Bryannah and Keghan were passengers in an SUV driven by Addyson and Keghan’s aunt, Kathy Scroggins. The SUV hit the semi about 5 p.m. Thursday.
The accident happened on the Interstate 65 bridge over the Driftwood River, near the Columbus exit for State Road 46.
Scroggins, who operates a home health care service in Jennings County with her husband, Richard, has been a caretaker for Bryannah for the past six years.
Family members said Bryannah has been diagnosed with developmental disabilities and that was why she was placed in Scroggins’ care.
Their relationship is more like that of grandparents and grandchild, though, Richard Scroggins said.
Addyson and Bryannah developed a close friendship through their shared love for music and art, said Jill McIntosh-King of North Vernon.
McIntosh-King owns and operates a music and art center in downtown Seymour called IMPROV.
The two girls were frequent visitors to the center, sharing their love of music and art with each other and anyone else who happened to be there.
“They were like sisters,” said McIntosh-King, a special education teacher and musician. “(Addyson) was very kind and loving to Bry, her best friend. She looked out for Bry. The joy they found in music, art and in people is beautiful.”
McIntosh-King described Addyson as a fun, energetic and smart kid.
“She loved singing, painting and beating on the drums and was always smiling and laughing,” McIntosh-King said. “I always told her she would take my place in music someday.”
Addyson was known for talking about her family and school, too, McIntosh-King said.
She had just completed kindergarten at Graham Creek Elementary School in Commiskey.
“She loved her family very much, and she loved kindergarten,” McIntosh-King said. “My life will forever be changed because of her and Bry.”
Keghan’s mother is Brittany Engle of Blocher, family members said. He lived with his father, Jed McCrory, in western Jennings County.
Patricia Engle of North Vernon, Addyson and Keghan’s grandmother, wrote on social media that she was in shock from the news of the loss of her grandchildren.
Patricia Engle works as a nurse at Scroggins’ care facility, another connection among the family members.
“It is very unreal and a numb feeling to know I will not hear ‘Mama Patty’ anymore or ‘I need a new pair of shoes, mama,’” Patricia Engle posted on her Facebook page.
“Guess they must be needed in God’s presence.”