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Businessman offers to help victims of high-rise accident

Accident victims Kaeden Boyd & Danielle Rhone Accident victims Kaeden Boyd & Danielle Rhone

NEW ORLEANS - A stranger has offered to help relatives of the two people who died in Sunday's high-rise accident.

Stephanie Nickelson is trying to come to grips with her loss.

"It's just so sad, so sad," Nickelson said.

Her granddaughter, Danielle Rhone, and great-grandson, Kaeden Boyd, were killed Sunday after the car they were in broke down on the high-rise. The two, along with Danielle's sister, Kelly, got out of the car and a chain-reaction ensued.

"A car came out of nowhere and hit Kelly, and then it hit the side of the black truck that was there, knocked Kaeden and Danielle clean over the railing, they went over," said the girls' sister, Tiffany Edgerson.

Danielle and Kaeden were thrown 200 feet and died from their injuries. Kaeden's mother, Kelly, also suffered serious injuries.

"She's not thinking because she's so upset. She don't believe it. That's what I think. She's gonna need help," Nickelson said of Kelly.

Kelly Rhone's toddler son was in the car, but he wasn't injured. Danielle Rhone also had a son in the car. He survived the accident.

Facing the costs of two funerals and huge medical bills, the family set up two different accounts to accept donations. Plus, a local businessman will meet with them Wednesday to discuss donating caskets.

Jonathan Lahatte owns ‘Til We Meet Again, a personalized casket company.

"I just want to help them out anyway that I can," Lahatte said.

With two small children of his own, Lahatte says upon hearing of the accident he immediately felt a connection with the family.

"Just the age of the child, it hit me, seeing that a child that age being killed in a traffic accident and then the driver didn't stop, it's tragic," he said.

New Orleans police are still searching for the driver of a Ford truck involved in the accident.

"We just want them to come forward because that's crazy!" Edgerson said. "They should come forward because that's a baby and they took away Danielle."

The family says they don't know how they'll cope with this unfathomable loss. It'll take time, and lots of support.

The family set up an account at Chase Bank to benefit Kelly Rhone, who is still in the hospital, and her son, who survived the accident. There's also a fund set up at Whitney Bank to help with the funeral costs for Danielle Rhone and Kaeden Boyd. It's called the Danielle Rhone Memorial Fund. Donations can be made at any Whitney or Chase bank branch.

Previous Stories:

Nov. 25 - Relative who witnessed high-rise accident pleads for someone to come forward

Nov. 24 - Hit and run leaves woman dead, 2-year-old boy in critical condition

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