by Logan Gruber
As of Wednesday, no news has been released on the investigation into the driver who hit and killed Cody James Nuckolls, 5, at about 2:30 p.m. April 13 on the 300 block of 1st Avenue NW.
Cody, son of William “Ryan” Nuckolls and Lorraine Hipp of St. Joseph, was outside of their home, across the street from his mother, when a black Chevy Trailblazer hit him. Hipp’s view was blocked by a school bus. Cody passed away at the St. Cloud Hospital that day.
“We’ve got to live our lives,” Ryan said during a conversation outside his home. “That’s the best thing we can do is live long, prosperous, happy lives for Cody. That’s what he would want.”
Funeral services were held April 22 at Joy Christian Center, St. Cloud. Burial followed in Assumption Cemetery, St. Cloud. Many community members planned to wear red in memory of Cody, as red was his favorite color.
According to Cody’s obituary, he was looking forward to attending Kennedy Community School in the fall with his sister, Hanna. Cody is known for both his “Cody Hug” and his big, wide grin.
An outpouring of support from St. Joseph and the surrounding community has helped the family through this time of grief. Many have contributed gifts of cash through a website at gofundme.com/RestInPeaceCody, at area Casey’s General Stores, and in-person donations of food, clothing and other items. Friends of the family Derek Hedburg, Benny Christian and others are organizing a fundraising motorcycle ride at 11 a.m. on May 9 from Rockville to St. Stephen, with three stops in between. Riders can show up the day of with a minimum $10 donation. The family said they are extremely grateful for all of the gestures.
“Whether it’s a prayer or $500,” Ryan said, “we are going to thank each and every single person. Every single one of you.”
In a post on the GoFundMe website, Lorraine said: “I want to thank everyone so much for being there for me and my family at this time of need. I am so overwhelmed from the support we’re getting, I feel like I can’t thank people enough for their love and prayers. And I just want to add that without this help from everyone . . . there’s no way I would be able to bury my son . . . from the bottom of my heart thank you.”
St. Joseph Police Chief Joel Klein sat down with the Newsleaders on Tuesday morning.
“With this death happening,” Klein said, “it shows us how quickly something can happen that is out of our control.”
Klein said this with both the victim and suspect in mind.
“It truly was an accident,” he explained.
He said there’s no way the driver of the Trailblazer could have avoided hitting Cody. Klein stated the investigation is concentrated solely on what the driver did after the incident, when the driver left the scene.
“I know people are hurting,” Klein said, “I know there is anger and the whole gamut of emotions . . . but wait to pass judgment until the investigation is complete.”
Klein said he is understanding of those who are angry, as he is a parent also.
“That could’ve been my 5-year-old,” Klein said. “It tugs at your heartstrings.”
Klein said he’s happy about the good that is coming out of the situation though.
“Unfortunately, it takes a tragedy to show how our community can come together . . . but there’s been a lot of community support, and that’s phenomenal.”