Hailey Brooks' parents hold tight to faith as they mark 1 year since her death: 'We're still broken'

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Tuesday, November 14, 2023
Parents of Hailey Brooks hold tight to faith, family
Hailey Brooks' mother and father sit down with ABC11's Steve Daniels as they mark 1 year since Raleigh Christmas Parade tragedy.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As the parents of 11-year-old Hailey Brooks prepare to mark one year since the tragic death of their daughter at the Raleigh Christmas Parade, they sat down with ABC11's Steve Daniels to share their journey through unimaginable grief.

"She was smart, beautiful. So kind. She had a heart of gold," Hailey's mother April said. "(I) miss her like crazy."

April and Trey Brooks shared with Steve Daniels about how they are honoring Hailey's memory, where they are finding strength and comfort, and how their two other children are coping with the sudden loss of the big sister they adored.

"We're still broken and we get up and we fight each day," Trey said. "We have strength from our Lord above and through the people in the community and our friends who've stayed by our side."

The Brooks family's cites their deep faith as helping them cope with the situation.

"A lot of people say (God) will never give you more than you can handle. And that's not true. He will give you way more than you can handle, but He's going to be there by your side," Trey said.

"We've been thrown into a situation that we can't get out of, so we don't have another option but to rely on our faith and to spread Haley's joy and good as far as we can go," April said.

Hailey had two younger siblings. A little brother and sister. Their parents say they are struggling without their big sister around.

"It's really hard for them to grasp what happened and so they have a lot of questions. We've all had counselors and amazing therapists who have helped us with all this trauma," April said.

FULL INTERVIEW: April and Trey Brooks sit down with Steve Daniels

Hailey Brooks' mother and father sit down with ABC11's Steve Daniels as they mark 1 year since Raleigh Christmas Parade tragedy.

The man behind the wheel of a truck that veered into the path of Hailey at the Raleigh Christmas Parade has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Landen Christopher Glass, the driver of the CC and Co. dance float, lost control of his truck, causing dancers and parents to scramble.

He is facing several other charges as well.


The Brooks family is using the tragedy to make sure the unthinkable doesn't happen again.

They hope that new legislation can be put in place to protect everyone attending parades all across the state.

"We have a responsibility to do better. I don't know all the answers, there is lots of people that do, but I think we owe it to our children to do everything in our power to keep them safe," Trey Brooks said.

"Part of Hailey's story as her parents is to make sure, lessen the chances of this happening," April Brooks followed.

Senate Bill 731 was filed this year to try and change the rules when it comes to vehicles in parades.

It was referred to a committee and did not come up for any votes.

Shine Like Hailey

April and Trey Brooks also created a foundation in Hailey's honor called The Shine Like Hailey Foundation.

That foundation has helped advocate for new parade safety regulations in North Carolina, and it aims to create scholarships for young people to pursue dance.

This November, the foundation is donating dozens of blankets to babies being discharged from Duke Hospital NICU and to WakeMed Children's Hospital. April works as a nurse at Duke Hospital, and Hailey was rushed to WakeMed Children's Hospital after the accident that took her life.

"She was such a giving and loving person. She was smart, funny, and the Shine Like Haley Foundation was created to carry on all those things that she was already doing," April said. "That helps me to feel closer to her and like she's still here with me."

Hear more from the Brooks family about this foundation on Tuesday on ABC11 at 5 p.m.

WATCH | Artist inspired by Hailey Brooks paints memorial mural: 'Bubbly and bright little girl'

A Durham-based artist painted a memorial mural in honor of 11-year-old Hailey Brooks on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh.