Young crash victim 'leader among peers'

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Abbygale Fleet is described as being incredibly caring and kind by her school principal, who is helping the students and staff at Emily Stowe Public School cope with the Grade 6 student’s death in a collision on the weekend.

“She is a huge leader among her peers,” said principal Lisa Munro, adding Fleet was very active in the school, and volunteered in the kindergarten classrooms, where she helped the younger students get ready for recess and played with them outside.

The Thames Valley District School Board’s Traumatic Events Response Team had counsellors at the Norwich school Monday to support the staff and students in any way they needed, as they returned to class after the Christmas break to learn Fleet had died Saturday.

“It’s unexpected and it’s tragic,” said Munro.

It is too early for the school to make any plans for a memorial event for Fleet. Funeral details have yet to be released and her parents, Trevor and Julie, were still in hospital as of Monday.

Fleet, 11, was the passenger in a sport utility vehicle that was traveling east on Norwich Road around 4:40 p.m. Jan. 3 when it was struck head-on by a westbound car that lost control and entered the eastbound lane. The collision happened between Middletown Line and Oxford County Road 13. Fleet died in hospital. Six other people — four from the SUV and two from the car — were transported by ambulance to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

The OPP Technical Traffic Investigation (TTCI) Team was at the scene assisting with the investigation. Norwich firefighters, Norfolk and Oxford EMS also responded to the scene. Norwich Road between Middletown Line and County Road 13 was closed for more than four hours.

Police are continuing to investigate the cause of the crash.

Environment Canada had issued a special weather statement for Oxford County Saturday for rain, freezing rain and snow.

“We did have some precipitation,” said OPP Const. Stacey Culbert. “It would certainly be too early to determine if that played a role in the collision or not.”

— with files by QMI Agency