Mourners honor Iszabella Morgan at candlelight vigilA crowd of more than 100 people, most dressed in blue clothing, gathered Tuesday night on the 100 block of North Duff Street in Mitchell to attend a candlelight vigil in honor of 9-year-old Iszabella Morgan, just steps from the site of the traffic crash that ended her life Saturday.
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
They remembered her smile. They remembered the dark curls in her hair. And they remembered her favorite color — baby blue.
A crowd of more than 100 people, most dressed in blue clothing, gathered Tuesday night on the 100 block of North Duff Street in Mitchell to attend a candlelight vigil in honor of 9-year-old Iszabella Morgan, just steps from the site of the traffic crash that ended her life Saturday.
Morgan died after the vehicle she was in was hit near the intersection of First Avenue and Duff Street by a car driven by 46-year-old Michael Sedlmeier. Authorities allege Sedlmeier was fleeing from the police and driving drunk.
“We’ve all been down this road many times,” said the Rev. Larry Regynski, addressing the crowd with Morgan’s mother, Jeanie Morgan, father, Ryan Anderson, and brother, Spencer Morgan, standing by his side. “Every time we go down this road, we’re going to think of Bella. This is Bella’s street tonight.”
Morgan’s family thanked everyone for the support, but otherwise did not address the crowd.
Candles were added Tuesday night to the informal memorial of flowers, cards, balloons and stuffed animals, which has been growing near the scene of the crash since it occurred.
“It’s blue just like she likes it. It’s perfectly blue for her,” said Mary Birmingham, of Mitchell, referring to the clear dark blue sky over Mitchell on Tuesday night.
Many motorists passing by on First Street slowed to view the scene.
“It’s a big enough town, but still small enough that everyone pretty much had a connection to the family,” said Lisa Petersen, of Mitchell.
At one point, some in the crowd released balloons and spoke “Bella” aloud as the balloons floated away into the night sky.
Shortly after, others in the crowd began singing “This Little Light of Mine,” and before long much of the crowd was singing along.
Rhonda Hoffman, related to the victim’s family as Morgan was her brother’s step-granddaughter, said she came to the vigil to pay her respects to the family. She described Morgan as the “sweetest little girl” and called the aftermath of the accident a “horrible situation.”
“If she saw you in Walmart, she would run halfway across the store to come and say hi,” Hoffman said. “She had her whole life ahead of her, and a drunk driver stole it away from all of us.”
Emily Kippes-Harvin, a second cousin to Morgan’s father, said she attended the vigil to show her support for Morgan’s family and friends, and to remind others not to drink and drive.
“I remember her beautiful dark curls and her little face that looks just like her momma,” said Jane Morrison, of Mitchell. Morgan was the great-granddaughter of Morrison’s sister.
“It’s as terrible as it gets, that’s about all I would say,” Regynski said in an interview.
As the night grew darker, the crowd began to disperse. Mitchell police reopened the 100 block of North Duff Street to traffic around 10 p.m.
Funeral services for Morgan are scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at Holy Family Catholic Church in Mitchell, with burial in Calvary Cemetery. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. today, with a prayer service beginning at 7 p.m.
Sedlmeier, the man allegedly responsible for Morgan’s death, is being held in the Davison County Jail with bond set at $250,000. Sedlmeier’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for April.