Mother of Knoxville bus crash victim speaks at candelight vigil

"Once you can't find your other child, you kind of just know. It was just a hard situation to deal with right there on the scene. I felt like I had a peaceful calming come over me while I was there," said Ukennia Arinze.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – As investigators try to figure out what went wrong Tuesday in that crash that killed two children and a bus aide, so many in our community came together to mourn.

WATE 6 On Your Side spoke with the mother of six-year-old Zykia Burns who said she was overwhelmed by the community’s support. Seeing friends, family, and complete strangers at Wednesday’s vigil was comforting for her as she copes with her daughter’s death.

“She wrote her own stories and she would sing her own songs. She was a great child,” said Ukennia Arinze, Zykia Burns’ mother.

Arinze said she’s taking each day moment by moment. Her daughter was one of three that was killed in the tragic school bus crash on Asheville Highway.

Previous story: Fatal Knoxville school bus crash victims identified, police continue to investigate

Zykia’s twin brother, Zyquese, was riding on the same bus and lived.

“Once you can’t find your other child, you kind of just know. It was just a hard situation to deal with right there on the scene. I felt like I had a peaceful calming come over me while I was there,” said Arinze.

At least 100 people paid their respects at a candlelight vigil at Church Street United Methodist in Downtown Knoxville. Arinze was there.

The vigil was organized by the community as a way to remember the two children and teacher’s aide who died. The sound of music and lit candles filled the church’s parking lot.

The sunsphere even changed colors to yellow in honor of Zykia Burns, Seraya Glasper, and Kim Riddle. Dozens comforted Zykia’s mother including Knox County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre by hugging her.

While it is a sad time for the families dealing with death, Arinze said she wants her daughter remembered for much more. She described her as caring and a young girl wanting to conquer it all.

“I’m going to miss her every day, every moment. Every time I close my eyes I see my beautiful Zykia’s smile,” said Arinze.

A friend of Zykia’s mother has set up a GoFundMe¬†page for the family to help them during this tough time. Their goal is to raise $10,000.

 

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