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Sara Rose Hennarichs

Contact Cathy Hennarichs (FL)

My name is Cathy Hennarichs and I live in Boca Raton, Florida. My story begins as a typical Saturday on September 13, 2020. My 13 year old daughter Sara woke up early that morning, made herself and her little sister breakfast and was off to a cheerleading event at the local middle school. Sara’s dad, Duane was away in Wisconsin for the weekend and I spent most of the day shuttling around my other 2 daughters, Amy (Sara’s older sister ) and Laura (Sara’s younger sister). Sara got home around 5:00 pm and asked to sleep at her friend Alexa’s house. I said it was o.k. and drove them over to Alexa’s house as I have done many times before. Little did I know the events that would take place this particular evening.

Apparently, right after I dropped the girls off, a 13 year old boy friend of theirs drove his adult sized ATV from his home, unsupervised, across a public road and into the neighborhood where Sara was. He allowed Sara to drive the ATV even though he knew she did not know how to operate the machine. The road she drove on was a narrow dirt road with trees on the side of the road. She ended up crashing into one of those trees. Although I am still not sure of all the events that took place right after the crash, I know the children called 911 right away and her friend Alexa knew enough to run down and open the gate of the community so the ambulances could arrive quickly. I received the dreaded phone call around 7:00 pm that evening from her friend’s mother telling me to go to the hospital right away. People tried to console me as I sat in the emergency waiting room for about an hour and a half not knowing how bad Sara’s injuries were. Hoping and praying for the best, but deep down knowing it wasn’t good. Finally the doctor called me into that little room and started telling me how serious her brain injuries were and the damage to the main artery of her heart and at that point I just screamed and I didn’t need or want to hear anything else. Everything from that point on became very surreal. I was able to go in and see Sara before she died but was in such a state of shock I couldn’t seem to find the right words. I remember telling her how much I loved her and not to be afraid, that she is always in my arms. I wanted so much to just die with her. I couldn’t believe what was happening and my whole body felt numb. My husband was on his way back from Wisconsin on a private jet and I couldn’t wait till he arrived because I didn’t know how to handle this without his strength to support me. I was so lost that evening and continue to be every minute of every day since. My life has forever changed and I will never be the same person I was before Sara’s accident. My greatest challenge in life now is trying not to feel guilty about living while Sara is not and to try to find some joy in my life for the sake of the rest of my family. This deep pain will never go away. Please visit Sara’s website to see more photo’s of my beautiful girl and to get to know her through the many wonderful things written about her.

I am hoping that by sharing my story I will be able to save another innocent child’s life by making parents aware of the dangers of these machines and the responsibility that goes along with owning one. This 13 year old boy was entrusted with an ATV as if it were just a bicycle and that is why my daughter is not alive today. Laws should prohibit the use of adult size ATV’s by children younger than 16 years old without a drivers license. Additional training and certification in ATV safety should also be required. I know Sara would want parents and children to learn something from her tragedy.

Sara Rose Hennarichs, 2003
Memorial website of Sara Hennarichs (1990-2003)



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