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Gazette Premium Content Ellicott girl remembered as determined, loving

MATT STEINER Updated: March 6, 2013 at 12:00 am

The father of a 10-year-old girl who died Feb. 28 on an Ellicott school bus held back tears Wednesday as he shared memories of his daughter.

“When she wanted to do something, she was going to do it,” Dennis Pulscher said of fourth-grader Autumn. The girl died after she went into an epileptic seizure on the bus, apparently fell forward and couldn’t breathe, her father said.

Pulscher illustrated his daughter’s determination with a story of when Autumn taught herself to roller skate.

“She must have worn the skates for about a week to 10 days straight,” he said. “After that, she could roller skate with the best of them. Nothing was going to stop her.”

Pulscher said Autumn was very caring, especially when it came to her younger brothers Matthew, 6, and 5-year-old Alex. He said the girl was “a mom at her core.”

“She’s very family oriented, very affectionate and very fun-loving,” Pulscher said.

Pulscher said the bus driver and paramedics with American Medical Response and the Ellicott Fire Department spent about an hour working to revive the girl.

Another student had alerted the driver as the bus carrying 15 students stopped near the Pulscher home, about four miles from Ellicott Elementary School, school officials said.

The efforts succeeded in restoring a slight heartbeat, Pulscher said. Autumn was rushed to a nearby hospital where she later died.

By the time medical personnel at the hospital were able to treat Autumn, “The damage had already been done to her brain and nervous system,” her father said.

The El Paso County Coroner’s Office performed an autopsy, but a spokeswoman for the office said test results are pending and it could be several weeks before the cause of death is determined.

Ellicott did not have school the day after the tragedy because of the district’s four-day week. District 22 delayed the opening of schools until 10 a.m. Monday. Counselors from the district, El Paso County and the Pikes Peak Board of Cooperative Educational Services were on hand to help students through the grieving process.

Dennis Pulscher said he sought the help from a counselor Tuesday, who told him he was “still in shock.” Pulscher paused for a moment Wednesday then said “There are probably going to be milestones that hurt.”

Memorial services for Autumn are planned for Thursday at Cappadonna Funeral Home, 1020 E. Fillmore St. in Colorado Springs. Visitation will take place from 12:30 to 2 p.m. with a funeral service at 2 p.m. at Cappadonna’s chapel. Burial will follow at Evergreen Cemetery.

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