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Fatally struck girl, 3, was ‘light of a light bulb’

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Redford Township — A 3-year-old girl who was struck and killed by a car last week was “the life of everything,” according to mourning family members.

“She was bright, joyful and just high-spirited,” great-uncle Jason Wilson said of Aaniyah Hogains, who died Saturday after spending days on life support. “She’s the light of a light bulb. In a dark room, she lights it up. That was her.”

A private funeral service for the girl is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday at the Muslim Center of Detroit, according to the girl’s mother. The religious ritual will take place in the center’s gym area, Shaaista Muntaqim said. The funeral service is limited to family and friends.

Aaniyah died Saturday after spending days on life support, according to Facebook posts by Wilson. The girl slipped from her older sister’s arms around 5:30 p.m. Dec. 30 on Grand River near Beech Daly, ran into the street and was struck by a car, police said.

Aaniyah was attempting to cross Grand River alongside her 14-year-old brother, 11-year-old sister and a 21-year-old family friend from Detroit, Sgt. Duane Gregg said Monday.

She “broke free” from her sister’s grasp and ran into the road, according to a GoFundMe campaign set up by neighbors. She and the family friend, identified on the GoFundMe page as her uncle, both were struck by a 2015 Lincoln MKS traveling westbound in the left lane.

The 21-year-old was struck while attempting to pull Aaniyah back to safety, Gregg said. The older children were not injured.

The GoFundMe account had raised more than $3,600 by early Wednesday evening.

Neighbor Tricia Kennedy, who set up the GoFundMe page, said Monday that Aaniyah was a beautiful and happy little girl who was “always skipping.” The crash that killed Aaniyah occurred around the block from the family’s home, Kennedy said.

After the crash, Aaniyah was rushed to Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills and then airlifted to Beaumont Royal Oak, police said. She died Saturday from severe head and neck trauma, according to the medical examiner’s office. The death was ruled accidental after an autopsy Sunday.

The 21-year-old sustained multiple broken bones, including a broken pelvis, and remained hospitalized in stable condition at Botsford.

The 31-year-old male driver, a Northville resident, remained on the scene last week and is cooperating with police, Gregg said. He was not injured.

Alcohol and drugs are not believed to be factors in the crash, Gregg said. The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office will determine whether charges are filed after police submit a warrant request in the case.

“I have to submit a packet to them, even with serious injuries,” Gregg said Wednesday. “I don’t expect to have that done this week because I’m still doing the investigation.”