LIMA — An 8-year-old Allen East pupil died in a traffic accident at the intersection of Lawrence and Clum roads at 5:50 p.m. Monday.
Gavin Reed, 8, was a second-grader at Allen East Elementary School. Allen East Superintendent Mel Rentschler called in a crisis team as well as several pastors throughout the area at the school to help the students deal with their grief.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, a 2013 Ford F-150 pickup driven by Richard J. Ortiz, 31, of Flatwoods, Kentucky, traveled south on Lawrence Road. A 2001 Ford Taurus, driven by Lisa M. Alexander, 29, of Harrod, was traveling east on Clum Road, with her son, Gavin, as a backseat passenger.
The driver of the pickup failed to yield to Alexander’s vehicle, striking it in the left side, according to officials. After impact, Alexander’s car traveled off the southeast side of the road and struck several tombstones in Ridge Cemetery.
Ortiz was taken to Lima Memorial Health System for minor injuries, where he was treated, then released. Alexander was taken to LMHS for serious, but non-life-threatening injuries, and was in stable condition Tuesday. Gavin was also taken to LMHS, where he later died.
Alcohol and drug use were not a factor, and safety belts were in use at the time of the crash, according to highway patrol officials.
Gavin’s father, Adam P. Reed, of Harrod, is a union contractor through Plumbers & Pipefitters union Local 776. He was working in Indianapolis when he received the call that Gavin was involved in a traffic accident. He was on his way home when he received the call that Gavin had died from his injuries.
Local 776 has posted a fundraising page on behalf of Adam for Gavin’s funeral on YouCaring.com at http://bit.ly/2jZ6su0.
A mental health team from the Mental Health & Recovery Services Board of Allen, Auglaize and Hardin Counties is helping the pupils at the school through their grief, Rentschler said.
“They bring a team in who are experts at this stuff, so they’ve been in our building all morning, and they’ve been with all the teachers, they’ve been in the classrooms working with the students, how to deal with grief and that sort of thing,” Rentschler said Tuesday. “And of course we have all the ministers here from the area, walking the halls and talking to kids and that sort of thing. It’s just part of our crisis plan.
“We also have our regular counselors here too. They are helping out. Basically we brought the cavalry in this morning to help everybody out.”
Concern for how the children handle this situation is paramount.
“With second-graders, everything is a distraction. So we are helping them work through those things, and they are actually handling it well right now,” Rentschler said. “But we don’t know how latent it will be, if it will pop out later, so that’s why they’ll [crisis team] be here all day.”
Reach Merri Hanjora at 567-242-0511