Parents speak as community mourns 11-year-old Utahn killed in crash

HIGHLAND – Those who knew Billie Jean Petersen say dancing was her passion, and she had moves and grace befitting her King-of-Pop namesake.

“She was free-spirited, spunky, a light that affected everyone she came into contact with,” said her mom, Brooke Petersen.

“Wow, where do you begin,” said Janene Schiffman, who owns the academy where Billie danced. “She had a smile on her face. Everyone, small to big, loved Billie.”

Those who danced with Billie at the Academy showed up Thursday night in Highland to remember her. They left messages on dance shoes and released balloons into the air.

“I can’t thank them enough for everything,” said an emotional Brooke Petersen.

Schiffman said the Academy is planning a benefit concert this December, with the proceeds going to the family. The family’s GoFundMe link can be found here.

Billie was riding with her two brothers and sister to school Tuesday morning when Utah Highway Patrol says the car got a flat tire and rolled.