by Susan Mikula Campbell
The Niagara-Wheatfield community was rocked this week by the news that three high school students were involved in a car crash early Sunday morning, resulting in the death of one student. A second student remained in critical condition at Erie County Medical Center.
"All three were from Niagara-Wheatfield, all were seniors and preparing for graduation," said N-W Superintendent James Knowles. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the parents and families."
Knowles said the school district's crisis plan was immediately put into action. All teachers were notified and met Monday morning before students arrived. Counselors were immediately made available and will continue to assist any student or teacher on request. A mourning flag was flown below the U.S. flag in front of the school.
According to New York State Police, the young women were in a 2009 Mazda that was northbound on Walmore Road and failed to negotiate a curve. The vehicle drove off the east shoulder, struck a power pole, and then rolled over several times. According to police reports, the occupants were not wearing seat belts.
Jasmin P. Dubuc, age 19, of Cayuga Drive in Niagara Falls, was ejected from the vehicle and sustained extensive trauma and was pronounced deceased at the scene. The vehicle operator, Taylor J. Clause, age 18, of Walmore Road in Lewiston, also sustained extensive trauma and was transported to Erie County Medical Center by Mercy Flight. Another passenger, Jasmine A. Rickard, age 18, of Upper Mountain Road in Sanborn, was also injured and taken to ECMC by Mercy Flight. She was later released.
The New York State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit is assisting with the investigation.
Knowles said the tragic news came at a difficult time with prom (June 7) and graduation (June 20) just weeks ahead. School officials are already discussing how Dubuc will be remembered at the Artpark graduation ceremony.