Difficult First Day of School for Families of SUV Rollover Crash Victims

The first day of school comes with a lot of emotions: anxiety with new classes and teachers, excitement to see friends, but on Tuesday, one of those friends was not able to show up, something the family said is a difficult reality.

"That's one thing I miss the most is just her positive attitude. It really lifted you up."

Latisha DeBroux is the aunt of Deserae Landowski, one of the victims in an S.U.V. rollover crash that happened in the Town of Easton on August 8. It was a single-car crash carrying ten teenagers. Reighlee Stevenson, 12 died at the scene and Landowski, 12 died the following day in the hospital.

"Every time I'd seen her, she'd always come up to me and give me a big hug and say 'Hi Auntie Tisha! I love you! How are you doing?' and I miss that greatly," said DeBroux.

She said the initial shock of the whole event has worn off and now it is time for healing.

"Some days are better than others. I do know that she is one of the girls who wouldn't want anyone to really be sad," she said. "She'd want us to be happy to the fact that we had the chance to know her and love her and be apart of her life."

On Tuesday, however, whatever healing had been done was reopened knowing the new 7th grader would not be joining her friends back at Horrace Mann Middle School.

"It's been difficult not only for the family, but her siblings and her friends," said DeBroux, "so I imagine being the first day of school everyone is missing seeing her smiling face and her laughter and her positive attitude."

"There are a lot of emotions that every child goes through on the first day of school," said Jeff Lindell, Wausau School District's Director of Pupil Services. Emotions could be elevated for those involved or who knew Landowski.

"Time heals and we've had some time go by and we might have some emotions that come up now because they're seeing friends, some of them they haven't seen for the course of the summer," he said. "We just want parents and students to know that we've got people in place that can help them and support them if necessary."

He said councilors are available to help students facing all kinds of issues and advises parents to let the school know if they have any concerns with their child.

The Landowski family is holding fundraiser on Saturday, September 6 at the Boys and Girls Club of Wausau, a club Landowski was once apart of. The event starts at 1 p.m. and runs until 7 p.m. There is an admission fee with adults starting at $10 and $5 for kids. There will also be food that has been donated by several area restaurants; that is included with the price of admission. Any questions or for more information, you can send an email to deseraelandowskibenefit@gmail.com.

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