Schuyler teacher remembered

November 7, 2018

Karrie Healy will be remembered as a special person and educator who loved her family and community, according to people who knew her.

Healy, 48, and 44-year-old Jason A. Bruns, of Omaha, were killed Oct. 31 in a car crash at the 1100 mile of Highway 15 in Colfax County, as previously reported by the Schuyler Sun. In the days since the passing of the head preschool teacher for Schuyler Community Schools, she has been on the minds of many who knew her in the area.

“Karrie and all of her family regularly participated in community events and they were well known throughout Colfax County,” said Colfax County Attorney/Coroner Denise Kracl, who noted Healy taught her daughter. “Her death will affect not only her family but also multitudes of past students, her friends and members of the community. She was kind to everyone she knew. She taught generations of families.”

Healy, who taught for over 20 years, spent 17 of them with Schuyler Community Schools. Her leadership skills were part of the reason she was promoted to head preschool teacher after teaching several grades at the elementary level for several years, Superintendent Daniel Hoesing said.

“She was a great teacher and great community person,” he said.

The Nebraska State Patrol’s reconstruction team has worked through the evidence and its analysis has helped determine what happened. Initial reports suggested Healy’s vehicle had been impacted twice, however, after further review, it was determined Healy’s car was only impacted one time.

The accident occurred just before 7:30 a.m. on Oct. 31, according to Kracl. A red 2002 Chevy Tahoe driven by Bruns was driving north on Highway 15 at 7:26 a.m. and crossed the center line when his vehicle struck a southbound white 2011 Buick Enclave driven by Healy head-on, Kracl said.

The Tahoe came to a rest in the middle of the highway when a tan 2009 Dodge Ram truck driven by Keldon K. Phillips, of Schuyler, traveling northbound on Highway 15 impacted the Tahoe, Kracl said. The Dodge Ram came to rest in the east ditch.

Before long, a 2006 International semi-truck and trailer, registered to Semi-truck Central Plains Milling LLC from Howells and driven by Adam J. Wermers of Howells, driving south on Highway 15 then impacted the Tahoe, which came to rest in the northbound lane of the highway. The semi-truck and trailer came to a stop in a nearby field.

Healy was pronounced dead at the scene; Bruns died later in the evening from injuries sustained during the accident, Kracl confirmed. Phillips and Wermers were not admitted to the hospital, she added.

Numerous agencies, including Schuyler Fire and Rescue, Howells Fire and Rescue, the Colfax County Sheriff’s Department and Nebraska State Patrol responded. Kracl praised everyone for their help in the matter, noting the NSP’s accident reconstruction team for its diligence.

An investigation is underway.

“This accident scene involved multiple vehicles impacting each other,” Kracl said. “It’s tough because sometimes we don’t get all of the answers.”

Hoesing said district leaders notified faculty and students the day of the accident. Younger students were sent home with a letter explaining the situation so parents could determine how to discuss it with their children while older students were told at school, the superintendent noted.

The district has had its own and retired counselors from other at the different schools in recent days for staff and students to utilize, he added.

“Anytime you have a loss of a staff member or student from the community, it’s very tough,” Hoesing said. “Our job was to assess our staff and put our crisis intervention in place.”

Healy leaves behind her family that includes her husband, Dan, two children, parents and siblings, as well as many friends, co-workers, students and community members who cared about her. According to her obituary, “she graduated from Schuyler Central High School in 1988, earned her bachelor’s degree in education from UNL, and her masters in curriculum and instruction from Wayne State College.”

Healy, who was also a member of the Warrior Booster Club and coached the Warrior dance team, “enjoyed traveling, spending time on the beach, tailgating, and attending Husker games with friends and family,” her obituary states.

By all accounts, Healy came across as a person who touched the lives of many. Her obituary described who she was best with two sentences:

“Karrie touched the lives of many people in the Schuyler community. The love she shared for every child in town was only surpassed by the love she had for her own.”

Matt Lindberg is the managing editor of the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at matt.lindberg@lee.net.

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