Five-yr-old was huge car fan; sister in coma

In the municipality of Haaksbergen, the sorrow is deep over the loss of the three victims who were killed in the monster truck rampage of last weekend. De Telegraaf writes that everyone the town, which has 24,000 residents, knew one of the victims either directly or indirectly.

One of the victims, the 5-year-old Tim, was a big fan of cars. De Telegraaf writes that he and his 8-year-old sister Marit were in the first row at the show. When the monster truck barreled into the crowd, Tim died on the spot. His sister Marit is in a coma in the hospital.

One of the other victims, 50-year-old Geert Striezenau worked for the Noordendorp transport company, which delivered a semi-trailer that was used at the monster truck event. He was also the brother-in-law of one of the co-workers of Sterevenementen, which organized the event.

The third victim was 73-year-old Betsie Herrewijn, who went to the show with her daughter. Betsie's grandson Mark Meijerink tells De Telegraaf that he was frantically trying to find out what happened to his grandmother and aunt, asking journalists for information. The journalists directed him to the Museum at the historic train tracks of Haaksbergen where a makeshift center was set up to receive victims.

"My grandmother seemed heavily injured" Meijerink told De Telegraaf. "We all immediately drove to the hospital in Almelo together. All the family was together when she passed. My aunt is doing well, considering, but she has a lot of broken bones, an open wound on her leg and she still has a long way to go."

Around the municipality of Haaksbergen, institutions and schools are flying their flags at half mast. Schools are counseling the children about what happened. Little Tim and Marit both attended the dr. Ariënschool where the shock is great. Specialists, teachers, staff and counselors have come together to help the children cope with what has happened.

Mayor Hans Gerritsen and the aldermen of Haaksbergen went around their community yesterday to speak to as many people as possible. "The talks are heartbreaking", Gerritsen tells De Telegraaf. "The shock is great and the loss enormous. As small community we have the task to support each other in this difficult time." Victims and their friends and relatives came together in a closed gathering Monday.