By Lynne Colombe
A tragedy that no community should have to bear has occurred in the past week, leaving the families of the victims, the Sunrise Apartment community, and the Head Start family and friends stunned and sad.
A young child, Selena Medicine Eagle, and her grandfather, Roger Emery, of Mission were struck down in traffic near the Ampride gas station and convenience store in Mission on Tuesday, October 3.
Early reports from those on the scene indicted that a semi-truck struck 4-year-old Selena, and her 76-year-old grandfather, Roger, as the two were crossing the road. Neither of the pair survived the accident.
Pearl White Hat-Medearis, Mikey Garneaux, and members of the Sunrise Apartment Complex in Mission, called Mother Lauren Stanley from the Rosebud Episcopal Mission, and almost immediately they worked together to organize a candlelight vigil for the victims of the crash.
The vigil was held beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 5 and began at the DSS Office in Mission, and ended near the crash site.
A large crowd gathered and prayed together at the crash site as RST Law Enforcement provided traffic control and enforced safety measures on-site. Duane Hollow Horn Bear and Mother Lauren Stanley officiated. Numerous candles were lit, Head Start staff and friends of the victims hung signs and placed chairs and memorial signs and flowers around a construction barrier on the corner nearest to the crash site.
By the end of the night, hundreds of candles were lit. Area businesses donated drinks and refreshments for the people who came out to the vigil. The family of the victims were present and the community provided their condolences.
Social media posts and passing conversations have memorialized the young girl and her grandfather as having a very close bond; and one businesswoman recalls to Tribune staff that they could often being seen around Mission, walking together, hand-in-hand.
Local residents have speculated that the construction in Mission may have been a factor in the accident, and many questions about the monitoring of speeding vehicles and non-compliant trucks in the area are issues that have been raised.
Selena Medicine Eagle was a student at the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Head Start in Mission. RST Tribal Head Start Administration has issued this statement for their young classmate and student:
“On behalf of all the program staff, we would like to extend our condolences to the families of Roger Emery and Selena Medicine Eagle. Selena was one of our students in the Wakanyeja classroom. Thus, we all at the RST EHS/HS program offer prayers to your families. We all are with you in this time of mourning and if you need anything or any help, please let us know. - Admin”
Joint wake and funeral services for Roger Emery and Selena Medicine Eagle began with family and friends meeting at the State Line/Rosebud Casino on Tuesday, October 10 at 1:00p.m. for a caravan to Antelope; where services were later held at 7:00 p.m. at the SGU Multipurpose Building. A Military Roll Call at 9:00 p.m. was performed in honor of Roger, who served in the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force.
Funeral services will be Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. at the SGU Multipurpose Building. Burial will be a the Little Soldier Cemetery in Old Ring Thunder Community. A meal and giveaway at the SGU Multipurpose Building will follow the burial.
Funeral direction has been provided by Holmes Funeral Home of Valentine, NE.
There has been no press release from local law enforcement to date on the accident. The SD Highway Patrol will continue to investigate the incident, as informed by RST Law Enforcement Tues. Oct. 10.