The Cairo-Durham High School was the scene of a horrific accident yesterday morning, when the car of two students on their way to summer school pulled into oncoming traffic on Route 145 and was hit by an SUV.
The accident claimed the life of 17-year-old Erika Cook; 18-year-old driver Samantha Pagan survived and was flown to Albany Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
State police said Samantha M. Pagan, 18, was operating her vehicle with Cook as the passenger. They were headed northbound on State Route 145 when the accident occurred.
As Pagan was turning into the school, the vehicle was struck by a southbound SUV operated by Michael A. Alesi, 22, of East Durham, according to police.
The Daily Freeman reports that grief counselors have been called in to the school:
“They’re here for everybody—teachers, staff, administration, summer-school students and anyone else who may need them,” [Catskill-Durham superintendent Sally] Sharkey said.
Fox 23 reports that the school is taking some safety measures in response to the accident:
Sharkey says the blinking yellow lights on both sides of the school zone have been turned on indefinitely in an effort to prevent another tragedy.
“My neighbor has a two year old and people just fly down this road, what if he were to run out, something needs to be done around here,” [Cook's friend Crystal] Squires said.