By Timothy Chipp
Classes at Niagara-Wheatfield resumed as normal Monday, one day after a one-car accident on Walmore Road claimed the life of one 12th grade student and injured two others.
Interim Superintendent James Knowles said normal is the best his administration can offer the school's students in the wake of the accident.
"In a situation such as this, the best thing we can do is to keep things as normal as possible," Knowles said. "But we also need to let the kids know there are people in place to provide counseling to those who need it."
Jasmin Dubuc, 19, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash after she was ejected from the vehicle she was a passenger in when it failed to negotiate a curve traveling north on Walmore Road near Mount Hope Road at approximately 6 a.m. Sunday.
The driver of the vehicle, 18-year-old Taylor J. Clause, was taken to Erie County Medical Center where she remains in critical condition Monday. A third woman, 18-year-old Jasmine Rickard, was flown to ECMC and was later released.
New York State Police say none of the teens were wearing seatbelts
Though investigators are not confirming the involvement of alcohol in the accident, Niagara-Wheatfield administrators are hoping the untimely accident opens the eyes of their peers, particularly heading into a time period where deadly accidents rise. With less than one month before senior prom – scheduled for June 7 – and graduation shortly after, Knowles said students need to know the dangers of driving drunk.
The district already spends hours devoted to making sure students understand the consequences through both health classes and holding a pre-prom assembly with mandated attendance.
Of course, some students don't necessarily pay attention and decide to have a little extra fun while enjoying themselves at prom. Knowles said he's hopeful an event such as this accident changes their minds.
"We would hope our students would pay attention at all times, but maybe because of the heightened awareness with this accident, maybe some more of them will pay attention," Knowles said. "You do what you can and hope the youngsters are listening. If one student listens and pays attention, that's great. When it comes down to the end of the year, with proms and graduations, it's a difficult time and scary time for parents. All we can do is educate the kids to be careful at what they do and to use their heads."
New York State Police investigators said they are "continuing" their probe into the cause of the crash.