‘She had such a big heart’: 5-year-old dies after stalled vehicle hit in Lake Elmo

5-year-old girl dies after crash in Lake Elmo

5-year-old girl dies after crash in Lake Elmo

A St. Paul family is grieving after a crash over the weekend killed a 5-year-old girl.

Christopher Petersen was with his 5-year-old daughter, Morgan, and 10-year-old son in their Ford Focus Saturday night when it stalled in the left lane of eastbound Highway 36 at Lake Elmo Avenue. That’s when another vehicle slammed into the back of the Ford.

All three of the Petersens were taken to a hospital — Christopher and his son suffering from non-life-threatening injuries and his daughter seriously hurt. However, Morgan later died from her injuries.

“Every day, as soon as we woke up, we’d have to eat waffles and watch music videos, that was her thing, she wanted to listen to Justin Bieber,” Christopher recalled.

“She had such a big heart, she was so giving,” he added.

While he’ll survive, Christopher says he suffered a traumatic brain injury and still doesn’t remember details of the crash.

“I remember asking the same four questions over and over again,” he said Monday. “I wanted to know where my kids were, were they OK, did I do anything wrong, and was my daughter in the car seat like supposed to be. I kept asking them repeatedly for five hours.”

“She’d come in and say, ‘Nana, I just need some hugs and snuggles tonight,’ she’d snuggle with me,” Morgan’s grandmother, Sandy Atchison, said. “I can’t imagine life without her, it’s going to be really really difficult.”

Now, Petersen wants others to remember Morgan when they’re on the road.

“Her life was cut so short so tragically,” he said. “Anybody who is out there driving, pay attention to what’s in front of you.”

Loved ones have started a GoFundMe page to raise money for Petersen’s family. It had received more than $15,000 as of Monday afternoon.

The Minnesota State Patrol says the case will be sent to the county attorney when crash reconstruction and test results are finished. The driver of the vehicle that hit the Petersens was also taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries that aren’t considered life-threatening.