October 27, 2012
Girl killed in crash wanted to be a teacherThe 11-year-old girl struck down by a minivan that crashed into a St. Paul, Alta., school aspired to be a teacher “just like her mom,” says her family.
By Allison Salz, QMI Agency
EDMONTON — The 11-year-old girl struck down by a minivan that crashed into a St. Paul, Alta., school aspired to be a teacher “just like her mom,” says her family.
In a statement issued Saturday, Megan Wolitski’s family said they are devastated by the loss.
“Our precious Megan was taken from us. She was a beautiful, smart, and caring girl,” the statement read. “We would like Megan to be remembered for the incredible girl that she was.”
Wolitski was one of three girls critically injured when a minivan plowed into a Grade 6 classroom at the Racette Junior High in St. Paul on Thursday morning.
She died in hospital Friday.
The 11-year-old’s family says she had a passion for dance and was an active member of the Girl Guides, even planning a trip to Switzerland with her group.
“She had so many hopes and dreams,” the statement reads. “She loved her family and loved to take care of her sister and baby cousins. She touched so many lives with her kindness. On behalf of her family, we thank you for your thoughts and prayers.”
The statement urges people to pray for the other two girls who remain in hospital — one in critical condition and another who has now been upgraded to stable.
Five other students were taken to hospital in St. Paul, but have since been released.
Flowers, candles and stuffed animals are pinned to the fence that leads up to the entrance of Racette Junior High School, which was also the site of a vigil held Friday night.
About 1,000 supporters from the community of about 5,600 people crowded in front of the school, who lit candles and to lean on one another in the wake of the tragedy.
A St. Paul radio station collected about $300 Friday night to support the victims’ families in their time of need.
“It’s very emotional for the entire community. At first there is anger and frustration of how this could happen in a school when that’s a safe haven for students. That rocked that confidence,” said St. Paul Mayor Glenn Andersen.
“We’re going to have to work through that. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take time to heal these wounds for the young lady that passed away and the two young ladies in Edmonton.”
The crash happened around 9:30 a.m. Thursday when a man driving a minivan through a back alley drove off the road and into the side of the school, coming to a stop inside the Grade 6 French immersion classroom.
Richard Edward Benson, 46, of St. Paul is charged with four counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm, one count of resisting arrest and one count of possessing marijuana.
Toxicology tests are underway and can take up to three months to process.
There is no word on if charges will be upgraded as a result of Megan’s death.