Students at Wilson High School are being offered counseling after a crash that took the life of one of their own on Tuesday morning.

WHS senior Tim Kelahan, 18, of Lake Street, was killed in a two-vehicle crash near 3176 Lake Road about 7 a.m.

The news hit WHS after students had arrived for their classes.

“This is a tough one,” said Michael Wendt, superintendent of the Wilson Central School District. “Anytime that we lose one of our kids, it’s something that hits everyone in the district.”

Wendt described Kelahan as a “great kid” who was on the honor roll and active in the school’s choral and theater departments.

The accident occurred before school began Tuesday. Kelahan was reportedly driving his 1999 Ford Escort west on Lake Road when the car began to slide, first north and then south into the other lane, into the path of a second car. That vehicle was a 2001 Saturn driven by Barker High School science teacher Robert Mucha, 33, of Tuscarora Road, Lewiston.

Mucha told deputies he tried to move out of Kelahan’s path, but he was unable to avoid the collision. Mucha’s car struck the side of Kelahan’s, and both cars came to rest on the south side of Lake Road.

A witness told deputies she was driving east on Lake Road behind Mucha’s car when she saw his brake lights come on. She then saw what appeared to be a cloud of smoke or snow, and saw the two cars off to the side of the road, the report said.

Wilson Volunteer Fire Company Second Assistant Fire Chief Michael Myers said his crews used the Jaws of Life to extract Mucha from the car. He reportedly suffered several injuries to his head and legs and was transported to Erie County Medical Center.

Mucha’s condition was not available Tuesday evening because he was still in the emergency room, according to an ECMC patient information clerk.

County Coroner Robert DuBois responded to the scene and declared Kelahan’s time of death at 7:05 a.m., the report said. An autopsy is scheduled for this morning.

Lake Road was closed between Hulbert Road and the Roosevelt Beach area while the scene was cleared. The sheriff’s department accident reconstruction team responded and is investigating the cause of the crash.

The roads were “a little snow-covered” Tuesday morning, Myers said.

Speed may also have been a factor, said Sheriff’s Capt. Steven Preisch.

“It does appear as if (Kelahan) was honestly going too fast for road conditions,” Preisch said. “It was just a bad combination of inexperience and, not that he was speeding, but (he was) going faster than he should have been for the road conditions. The more factors that come into play, you increase your odds of something going tragically wrong.”

Deputies notified Kelahan’s parents of the crash Tuesday morning. His mother is a teacher in the Newfane Central School District, and the tragedy soon resonated through both districts.

“Something like this can just rip the whole north half of the community apart and have such long effects,” Preisch said. “It really affects everybody, it truly does. My heart goes out to that family.”

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