PECKVILLE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – A school district in Lackawanna County is mourning the loss of a second-grade student tonight.
State police say seven-year-old Amailey Gonzalez died at a hospital in the Lehigh Valley Sunday, less than two days after a violent wreck on Interstate 81 in Luzerne County.
Monday was a difficult day for students and teachers at the Valley View Elementary Center.
The facility has roughly 200 second-grade students and the principal and school counselor went into the Jessup girl’s class to explain what happened.
Gonzalez was a second grader at the school.
“Amailey would light up a room with her smile, very smart young lady, very kind to everyone. I would see her everyday. She should give me a thumbs-up signal,” principal Maria Kishel said.
With less than four weeks until summer vacation, parents were heartbroken to hear the news.
“It’s unbelievable. That is so, so sad,” parent Wendy Cerra said.
Wendy Cerra’s son Anthony is in kindergarten and knows how close students at the school are.
“When you hear about something like this, you hold them a little bit tighter, a little bit longer,” Cerra said.
“I would be devastated if something like that happened to one of my kids,” parent Krystal Poslosky said.
State police say Amailey Gonzalez was in the backseat of a vehicle driver by her mother when it went off Interstate 81 in Hazle Township, hit a rock embankment and started spinning.
The young girl’s mother and another woman were ejected.
Troopers say Gonzalez was trapped in the backseat.
She was wearing a seatbelt but was not in a booster seat.
At Valley View Elementary Center, a team of counselors is now trying to help classmates cope.
“We have to talk about it in real terms, pretty much that she did die, she’s not coming back however we do have those memories of her that we can last a lifetime,” Kishel said.
Amailey Gonzalez’s mother, Melanie Burleson, along with the other woman in the car, Brittany Gallagher, both remain in the hospital.
State police believe speed most likely played a role in the deadly crash.
Troopers are asking anyone who witnessed the crash to call State Police in Hazleton.