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KATU Investigators

'She was just a special girl. Full of beautiful things'

'She was just a special girl. Full of beautiful things'

EDDYVILLE, Ore. – Family members of an 11-year-old girl who was hit and killed by a car in April said she was wise beyond her years.

Kylie Hornych was hit while standing outside her home after prosecutors said David Herman suffered a diabetic episode and lost control of his car.

“She was just a special girl. Full of beautiful things,” said Daniel Hornych, Jr., Kylie’s brother.

“I feel she knew she wasn’t going to be here forever and that’s why she was how she was,” said Kylie’s sister, Kristina Lavery.

Kylie would cook for Daniel’s friends when they came over. Macaroni and cheese was her specialty. Every day, she would call Kristina.

“She was so loving towards me, she literally harassed me,” said Lavery. “She was like ‘talk to me, talk to me, talk to me.’”

“Me and her would always pretend we were asleep and we got up on school nights,” said Kylie’s sister, Kyrah Hornych.

All of that extinguished in one moment as Kylie waited for her family just outside her front door. They were about to go to the school science fair.

“All I heard was this big boom and I figured something had just fallen over, then I heard screaming and I came out and saw that,” said Daniel Hornych, Jr. “I was just kind of like really mad looking at the guy. Because he was just sitting there in the car.”

Initially prosecutors decided not to file criminal charges against Herman, but they reopened the case following a KATU News investigation into his history of managing his disease.

“He’ll never understand what it’s like to come outside and see your daughter dying on the concrete by you,” said Kylie’s mother, Kellie Hornych. “He’ll never understand what it’s like to kiss your daughter’s frozen cold lips.”

Charges were filed against Herman four months after the crash. He faces a minimum of six years if he’s convicted of second degree manslaughter. He remains in the Washington County Jail.

The Hornych family has moved away from the house in Aloha. They’re renting a place in Eddyville, closer to the coast where they used to live. Horses were donated to the family, in part as therapy for the kids.

They’re all grieving in different ways. Kellie wants pictures of Kylie prominently displayed, while Kylie’s dad can’t bear to see them. They said their focus often shifts to Herman.

“This person cared so much about killing my daughter that a week later he had another incident and needed stitches,” said Daniel Hornych, Sr. “He wasn’t even testing a week later. A day before he starts the school year, he’s up at the casino gambling having a good time and has another episode.”

“It’s kind of like he blocked it out, I mean he went back to work within a couple of weeks, had summer, got to gamble, got to have another birthday,” Kellie Hornych said. “While we’re left curled up in a ball, our souls screaming, where’s our baby girl?”

What does justice look like to them?

“I think part of justice would be for him to go out and speak to others about how this could have been prevented,” said Kellie Hornych. “And this is my story so maybe you can learn from it.”

“It should be a life for a life. I don’t mean the death penalty, but I mean he should spend the rest of his life in jail thinking about this,” said Daniel Hornych, Sr. “Our penalty is life and Kylie’s penalty was life.”

“I really don’t like that guy who hurt her,” Kyrah Hornych said. “But you have to forgive him. But it doesn’t have to be now.”

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