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Bus driver close to Indy child killed in duck boat tragedy remembers the family

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – After hearing that several members of an Indianapolis family were killed in Thursday’s duck boat accident, community members close to the Coleman family were also grieving over this huge loss. The names of the crash victims were released Saturday morning. Among them were nine members of the Coleman family, including four children, ages 1, 2, 7 and 9.

Janet Collins has been driving 9-year-old Reece Coleman for the past three years. It was hard for her to believe she will not be picking him up a week from Monday for the first day of school. Collins said he was supposed to start the fourth grade this year at Brookview Elementary.

"Reece was a ray of sunshine. When he got on the bus, he had the whole bus singing. If you didn’t remember a nursery rhyme, he remembered them all and we sang," said Collins.

She could not believe she heard the name Coleman while watching the news out of Branson, Missouri on Saturday morning. That is when she learned Reece was one of the nine family members who died in the duck boat accident along with his younger brother, Evan Coleman, and his sister, Arya Coleman.

"I want her to know I am so thankful she allowed me to drive her son to school in the bus and share her family with me over the years. I am so honored and blessed," she said.

He may not be on the bus this year but Collins said she plans to keep his memory alive by placing his name tag and picture above his usual seat on the bus.

A GoFundMe representative has confirmed to FOX59 that this account created to help the family has been verified. Any donations made to the account will help relatives lay their loved ones to rest, the page says.

Barnes United Methodist Church will also be collecting donations for the family during services on Sunday. They hope this will help the Coleman's bury their loved ones.