KINGS MILL, Ohio - All 635 students at Columbia Elementary School in Kings Mill released Valentine's Day balloons in memory of their classmate, Sammy Reagan, who died in the chain reaction crash on I-275 in Colerain Township.
The students and teachers released 675 balloons Thursday morning with one heart-shaped balloon to signify their fallen classmate. Sammy's twin and younger brother are currently students at Columbia. Her siblings, as well as her parents, attended the event.
The 12-year-old, a sixth grader at the school, was hit by a cable barrier in the midst of the pileup in January caused by snowy driving conditions. A group of bystanders performed CPR on the girl while on the phone with 911, and waited for emergency crews to arrive. She was then taken to the hospital where she later died.
There were a total of 96 vehicles involved in the I-275 pileup, according to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office. Sammy Reagan was the only one to lose her life that day. She was on her way to Perfect North for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
The school released the Valentine's Day balloons at 10 a.m., with each balloon carrying a message about "compassion." Sammy's mom, Jill Reagan, put her email address with each message so if the balloons are found, people can reach out to her.
The school chose to celebrate the day on Feb. 14 because Valentine's Day was Sammy's favorite day, Jill said.