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Millard South student killed in crash, an aspiring Husker, 'was always smiling'

Millard South student killed in crash, an aspiring Husker, 'was always smiling'

Funny, smart, thoughtful, athletic, goofy.

That’s how Trevor Canaday’s sisters and mother describe the 14-year-old, who was fatally injured late Saturday afternoon in a crash at 144th and Harrison Streets. Authorities say the driver of the other vehicle was under the influence and ran a red light when his Ford Escape collided with the Canadays’ Nissan Maxima.

Bryan Canaday, Trevor’s dad, remains hospitalized at the Nebraska Medical Center in fair condition. Trevor was a freshman at Millard South High School, and his father was taking him to a show choir activity.

The driver of the other vehicle, who has three past convictions for driving while intoxicated, is in custody.

“It’s a tragedy that shouldn’t have been,” said Trevor’s mother, Becky, who is still coming to grips with how her son died. “What’s going to get us through is our love for Trevor and our love for each other. Trevor would want everyone to be kind, to hug somebody and help others.”

The oncoming car struck the passenger side of the Nissan, where Trevor was sitting, his mother said. The impact was so severe that the seat belt Trevor was wearing broke and he was thrown from the car, she said.

“He didn’t have a chance,” she said.

Trevor had talked with his family about organ donation, and through his death, dozens of people, an estimated 50 to 70, will eventually be helped, his mother said.

“He was very giving and loving,” she said.

Trevor’s family says they’ve been overwhelmed by the love that has been shown toward them.

Students at Millard South wore pink and red on Monday in support of Trevor. Pictures from all over have been posted to social media and sent to the family. More than 700 people had donated more than $33,000 to the family’s GoFundMe account by late Monday evening.

Among those donating was Trevor’s cousin, actress Sarah Hyland, a star of TV’s “Modern Family.” The family plans to use the money for funeral and medical expenses, while also setting aside some for scholarships for students at Millard South.

Trevor is survived by two older sisters, Tessa and Zoee, his maternal grandparents, Arlene and Bud Burianek of Ralston, and paternal grandmother, Diane Canaday of Arizona. His grandfather Jack Canaday preceded him in death.

“He was my best friend,” sister Zoee said. “He tried to be the big brother, even though he was the baby brother. He was always smiling, laughing. He could change your mood just by looking at him.”

And of course, there is his “fur sister,” Truffles, a chocolate Lab mix, his mom said.

Trevor had broad interests, including academics, football, baseball and show choir.

He had set his sights on playing football for Nebraska and becoming a veterinarian. At Millard, he played on the offensive and defensive line for the freshman football team, which went undefeated this year.

“He liked defense best,” his mom said. “He liked to be able to hit people and move them around.”

Off the field, Trevor was “caring, kind and gentle, yet tough when he needed to be,” his mom said. ”He was academically smart, and street-smart, too. He knew people, he could read people.

“If there was somebody on the outside of the circle, he would bring them inside. That’s the kind of guy he was.”

The Millard Public Schools on Monday issued a statement offering thoughts and prayers to Trevor’s family.

“Trevor was smart and funny,” the district wrote. “A good student with a great sense of humor, he was nice to everyone. (On the freshman football team, he) always gave a thousand percent in practice. He was also a valued member of the varsity show choir. ... His friends and teachers throughout our Millard community are heartbroken.”

Before attending Millard South, Trevor attended Andersen Middle and Neihardt Elementary Schools.

Services will be at 3 p.m. Saturday at Heafey Hoffmann Dworak Cutler Mortuary, 7805 West Center Road. Family visitation will be at 2 p.m., before the service.

World-Herald staff writer Kevin Cole contributed to this report.

Omaha World-Herald: Afternoon Update

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Nancy Gaarder helps cover public safety and weather events as an editor on The World-Herald's breaking news desk. Follow her on Twitter @gaarder. Email:

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