Fundraiser planned for 3-year-old following deadly Head Start incident

Photo courtesy of the Kerr family Lilliana Kerr

Photo courtesy of the Kerr family
Lilliana Kerr

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — A fundraiser for a 3-year-old girl killed Jan. 20 when a table at a Head Start facility collapsed on her will be held at on Jan. 27 at Walker’s Speakeasy, 8701 N. Beech Daly.

The fundraiser will take place from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. with a $10 admission charge which includes all-you-can-eat spaghetti, salad, bread sticks and cheesy potatoes.

A band will provide live entertainment from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. and a 50/50 drawing and basket raffles also will be featured.

Sandi Jacokes, the best friend of Lilliana Kerr’s mother, Tabitha Kerr, is a bartender at the bar where the fundraiser is being held.

Jacokes said Lilliana and twin sister were both at the Head Start because Kerr enrolled in cosmetology school. Kerr also has s 9-year-old son.

Walker’s owner Mike Kuehn stepped in to host the fundraiser after hearing the news.

“It’s a small thing I am able to do by having the building and kitchen,” he said. “I’m glad to help raise money for the family during this difficult time.”

The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Lilliana’s death an accident after a picnic table attached to a wall in the gymnasium at St. Albert the Great Catholic School, 4671 Parker, collapsed about 10:30 a.m. during recess.

The cause of death was “a result of blunt head trauma,” spokesman Lloyd Jackson said.

Head Start officials performed CPR on Kerr while waiting for first responders to arrive. She was taken to Beaumont Hospital-Dearborn where she was pronounced dead.

Wayne County Metropolitan Community Action Agency, serves as the Head Start provider at the school.

Photo courtesy of the Kerr family Lilliana Kerr

Photo courtesy of the Kerr family
Lilliana Kerr

“A tragic accident took place today at our Saint Albert the Great site,” a statement from the agency Jan. 20 read. “One of our Head Start children sustained injuries in the school gym. Our staff responded immediately and provided CPR and first aid until EMS arrived. We learned that despite all efforts the child passed away at the hospital. Our most heartfelt condolences go out to the family.”

“We have been working with law enforcement who are continuing their investigation. They have told us that staff took the appropriate actions and this again was a tragic accident.”

Students were sent home the day of the incident. Grief counseling services were arranged for families.

Attorney Gregory Rohl, who was hired by the family, said there are no plans to file a lawsuit against the Head Start program.

Steve and Moriah Durant, who lost their 4-year-old daughter, Rosaria, during a car crash in December while in Ohio, donated the casket for the burial to the Kerr family for Lilliana’s funeral.

A GoFundMe page was set up to help pay for funeral expenses on the behalf of Tabitha Kerr.

The page raised $25,555 in three days from 407 contributors, exceeding the $15,000 goal. To donate to the fund, go to gofundme.com/lillianas-funeral-expenses.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)