Nebraska trooper, teddy bear comfort girl following snowy Easter crash

Nebraska trooper, teddy bear comfort girl following snowy Easter crash
Nebraska state trooper Jonathan Kroeger carries 8-year-old Aaliyah following an accident on Interstate 80 on Sunday near Grand Island. (Courtesy Photo)

The two young sisters were screaming and crying following an accident on a snowy Easter morning along Interstate 80.

But teddy bears and a warm coat provided by a Nebraska state trooper helped calm them.

A photo showing trooper Jonathan Kroeger carrying one of the girls — an 8-year-old with cerebral palsy — is drawing attention on social media as an example of the everyday good works carried out by law enforcement. The photo has received more than 2,000 likes and other interactions on the State Patrol’s Facebook page and prompted dozens of comments.

Erica Medina said she was driving home to Denver on Easter morning with her two daughters after visiting family in Omaha.

She was westbound on I-80 near Grand Island when another westbound vehicle swerved to avoid a previous accident, forcing Medina’s Nissan Armada into the median. Medina’s SUV then struck a trailer attached to a pickup that was already in the median.

She and her daughters, 9-year-old Alejandrina and 8-year-old Aaliyah, received bumps and bruises but didn’t need to go to the hospital.

Medina said her daughters were hysterical after the crash. A crate carrying a service dog for Aaliyah, who has cerebral palsy, had broken open in the crash and the pup was barking.

But then two troopers — Kroeger and Andy Allen — arrived to help.

Kroeger had teddy bears in his cruiser and gave one to each girl. He gave Aaliyah his coat and scooped her out of the SUV, while Allen carried out her sister and took care of the dog.

Medina, who has family members in law enforcement, said the seemingly routine help officers provide sometimes gets overlooked. She said she appreciated the kindness and safety the Nebraska troopers provided her family.

“They were wonderful,” she said.