Flowers, teddy bears, balloons and a cross mark the intersection where an 11-year-old Blair boy lost his life Friday after he was struck by a semi-truck while riding his bicycle.
Jaycoby Estrada was northbound on a bike crossing Washington Street at approximately 8:15 a.m. when the bike was struck by a southbound semi turning east toward downtown Blair from North 19th Street, according to Blair police detective Russ Cook.
The boy was killed instantly.
Jaycoby was a sixth-grader at Otte Blair Middle School. Supt. Randy Gilson described the boy as an “incredibly talented and courageous student.”
“He was easily recognizable by his big smile and was so loved by students and staff,” he said.
Jaycoby was a “natural tinkerer and problem solver,” according to his obituary. This helped him in Destination Imagination. His team earned second place in regional competition.
He also played clarinet, sang in choir and was looking forward to student senate this year at OBMS.
Jaycoby was also passionate about Scouting. He was a member of Troop 558 and was set to receive his Tenderfoot at a ceremony, which was planned for Monday.
“Jaycoby will always be remembered as a young man who always enjoyed helping others, and with this was known to make countless friends throughout his life,” his obituary said.
Blair Community Schools' crisis intervention team was made available for students at all buildings Friday. Counselors were also Saturday at OBMS.
The district works directly with Arbor Family Counseling in Omaha for the Student Assistance Program, which provides two free counseling sessions for every student in the district. They have a 24-hour phone access line at 402-330-0960.
“This loss is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions for our entire school, especially our students,” Gilson said in a release to parents. “We are saddened by the loss to our school community and will make every effort to help you and your child as you need.”
Blair police, Washington County sheriff's deputies, the Nebraska State Patrol and Blair Rescue responded to the accident, which closed eastbound Washington Street at 19th Street for more than three hours.
While authorities investigated, a semi was parked in a nearby parking lot. A bicycle was still lodged underneath it.
A black baseball hat could be seen laying in the street near a plastic bag and a bottle of soda.
Cook said it was an “extremely difficult” incident for all involved.
“It's a sad situation for all of us,” Cook said. “The officers that had to deal with this, it was very hard to deal with.”
Police have not yet released the name of the truck driver. The accident remains under investigation. Police are asking for anyone with information about the accident to call 402-426-6866.
A GoFundMe page has been established to help the family with funeral expenses.
Funeral services for Jaycoby will be 1 p.m. Friday at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Omaha. Graveside services will follow at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Visitation will be Thursday with family receiving friends from 6 to 8 p.m. at Campbell Aman Funeral Home in Blair.
Jaycoby is survived by his parents, John and Melissa; siblings, Seth, Alycia, Abbigale, Zane and Malcom; grandparents, John and Paula Retelsdorf of Omaha, Kim Cartwright of Oklahoma, Alan Pittaway of Ohio and Anthony and Vicki Estrada of California.
On Monday, Blair students wore blue, Jaycoby's favorite color, to honor him.
This is the second Blair student killed in accident this summer.
On July 5, Heidy Martinez, 14, died in a rollover accident on County Road 18, northwest of Blair.