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Boy, 8, Barely Survives School Bus Crash That Killed His Big Sister, Mom Reveals

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On Monday afternoon, Misti Nash thought she heard the unimaginable when she got a call that her 8-year-old son, Zecheriah, was in the ICU after being injured in a deadly school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Then Misti learned that her 9-year-old daughter, Zoie, was killed in the crash.

“It seems like a dream,” Misti tells PEOPLE. “It hasn’t hit me yet.”

Zecheriah and Zoie, both students at Woodmore Elementary School, rode that bus every day and were “very close,” their mom says.

Zoie was one of six siblings — and the only girl in the family. “She couldn’t do anything,” Misti says.

“She said she could never have a boyfriend. They all looked out for her.”

From left: Zechariah and Zoie Nash.
Misti Nash

As Misti and her close-knit family mourn the lose of Zoie, who was “quiet” but also a “people person who enjoyed life,” Misti has been by Zecheriah’s side watching him heal.

“He’s out of the ICU,” she says, “and he’s going to be okay.”

She adds, “We’ve come together for this moment.”

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Chattanooga Fire Department personnel work the scene of a fatal elementary school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Monday.
Bruce Garner/Chattanooga Fire Department via Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP

Zoie was one of five students killed in the bus crash Monday, after the vehicle ran off the road, turned on its side and wrapped around a tree. There were reportedly 37 kids on board.

Police allege the bus driver, 24-year-old Johnthony Walker, was speeding and driving recklessly when he lost control of the vehicle. He is facing charges for vehicular homicide, reckless driving and reckless endangerment.

Like Zoie’s family, the relatives of the other students killed or injured are grappling with their grief.

“It hurts me to see Zachariah like that,” Misti says. “He’s so innocent.”