2 children still in intensive care after Caledonia crash that killed 3 people
3 young people were killed, while others suffered 'life-altering injuries' said police
After a crash Wednesday that killed three young people and injured five others, two of the children who survived are still in intensive care.
"Three of the children injured in the van accident on March 29th have been released from hospital into the care of their families," Deanna Dunham from the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation told CBC in an email. "Two children remain in the pediatric intensive care unit."
Police had previously described the injuries to some of the survivors as "life-altering."
Grace King, 12, Waagosh Secord, 14, both of the Mississaugas of The New Credit First Nation, as well as Wyatt Martin, 21, of Six Nations of the Grand River, were killed in the crash.
It happened just after 9 p.m. Wednesday night on Highway 6, just south of Caledonia. The girls were among a group of 15 people from the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation returning home when the van they were in collided with the vehicle Martin was driving headed in the opposite direction.
'They are all our children.'
Chief Stacey Laforme said "the whole nation" is affected by the loss, not just the individual families.
"When we lose children, people always think of your children, my children, her children, his children — but they are all our children and that includes you guys [reporters]."
Ontario Provincial Police said it was one of the worst crashes they've seen in the area.
A 27-year-old man driving the van and five other young people from that vehicle were taken to hospitals in Hagersville and Hamilton with serious injuries. The driver has been released. The condition of the other patients is unknown.
According to Ornge Air Ambulance, as many as six people under the age of 18 were involved in the crash.
Police said it was too early to speculate on the cause of the collision.
"We are in the early stages of the investigation and we are trying to piece together the puzzle of exactly what happened here," said OPP Const. Ed Sanchuk. "We have more questions than answers."
As of Friday at noon, a GoFundMe campaign for the families of the victims had raised more than $12,000.
"These funds will help the families who are grieving and associated costs during this time," says the GoFundMe page.
Tragedy in a community of 900 people
On Thursday, the community was reeling from the tragedy. Home to 900 people, the community is small but close-knit, a place where children grow up together.
Brenda Seth is distantly related to both King and Secord.
"My heart goes out to the family," she said Thursday. "Even if it's not my relatives, no child should have to die because of this. Nobody should."
Seth also knew Martin briefly, describing him as "outgoing" and "happy-go-lucky."
"It saddens me to see that this would happen to him," she said. "Nobody should go through this."
Classes were cancelled at Lloyd S. King Elementary School on Thursday and will remain so "indefinitely," although the school is open for counselling services for staff and anyone who wants it, the First Nation's spokeswoman Deanna Dunham told CBC News.
Local restaurants have been sending food to the community centre. A local church is planning a dinner Thursday.
The community centre is also open offering victim assistance, and many people are gathering there.
"We have invited counsellors in. We have some of the elders doing smudging," Laforme said.
Community members told CBC News that members of the First Nation have been through a lot in the last year. Another crash last May on Highway 6 killed two community workers who were sisters.
Highway 6, which was closed between 4th Line and 5th Line, has been reopened since the crash.
"It's very traumatic, obviously, to see — this is a very traumatic collision that took place here tonight," Sanchuk said. "It's difficult to tell loved ones that their family members are deceased."