TOWN OF POMFRET, N.Y. (WIVB)– A 7-year-old is dead after a three-car collision in Chautauqua County. Emmaline Wilcox was a first grader at Sinclairville Elementary School.
According to State Police, around 4:10 p.m. in The Town of Pomfret, a 2009 Hyundai was traveling northbound on State Road 60 and rear-ended a 2016 Kia that was waiting to turn left into a parking lot.
The Kia was pushed into oncoming traffic and hit by a tractor-trailer going southbound. The 35-year-old driver of the Kia and 7-year-old passenger were taken to Brooks Memorial Hospital where the child was pronounced dead. The driver was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
“She may not have even seen it coming,”according to NY State Police Trooper James O’Callaghan. “We’re still looking into the proper harness and the child seat, but you gotta remember, this vehicle was a lot smaller than this tractor trailer. This vehicle took substantial damage. There’s a probability this child may have been properly seated but at this point, with the amount of damage and the size of this vehicle hitting the passenger side of this minivan, there’s substantial damage.”
This was Emmaline’s first year as a student at Sinclairville Elementary, according to Chuck Leichner, superintedent of Cassadaga Valley Central School District. “I spoke with Mr. Gilevski, our elementary school principal and Emmaline was one of the kids that he said he greeted every morning with a hug out front, so this has been a difficult, difficult day for us.”
She lives in Cassadaga and has a brother in sixth grade in the same district. The staff went into crisi counseling protocol, according to Leichner. “The thing that we can do best is to move forward with procedures and routines that we have in place because that’s really helpful for kids. They can lean on that and depend on that stability and move through their day.”
The crash remains under investigation to determine if there was any criminality on the part of the Hyundai driver who rear ended the Kia minivan the girl was riding in, according to trooper O’Callaghan. “Whenever anyone deals with a child fatality, it pulls on the heart strings of the community, the first responders, obviously family members, schools, and it’s very difficult.”
Cassadaga Valley Central School District says the child who was killed was a first grader at Sinclairville Elementary School. State police later identified her as Emmaline Wilcox.
The crash is currently under investigation.