SOUTH PARK (KDKA) — Grief counselors comforted teachers and students Monday at South Park Elementary after learning one of their 2nd grade students was killed in a violent car crash Saturday night on the South Side.
“Students were very quiet. Many had questions. Overall they have been very strong, very kind, very sympathetic to the family and to her closest friends,” South Park School District Superintendent Jeanine Gregory said.
Pittsburgh Police say that 23-year-old Travis Isiminger of Greene County was drunk when his Mustang hit another car head-on on East Carson Street. Nicole Cleland, 38, and her two children were in the other car.
Lexa Cleland, 7, was killed, while her 11-month-old sister was taken to Children’s Hospital and her mother was taken to UPMC Mercy.
“This is an extremely emotional, very difficult. We know that we have to continue for the sake of the students but it is very difficult for all of us to lose any child, but a 7-year-old in such a tragic manner is extremely difficult for all of us,” Gregory said.
The PTA is now planning to put a tree up in the hallway of the school. Classmates will be able to put angel ornaments on it in memory of Lexa.
“Her kindergarten teacher described her as a ray of sunshine in the classroom. People are speaking very highly of her. She had close friends in her second grade classes and it’s very emotional for the people who did teach and work with her.”
The school will also be announcing on their website where donations can be made to the family.
Meanwhile, Nicole Cleland is in critical condition at UPMC Mercy and her 11-month-old daughter is still at Children’s Hospital.
Isiminger is facing a long list of charges, among them homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence.