Counselors will be available Monday for students at Kaneland Harter Middle School in Sugar Grove coping with the death of a classmate killed Friday when she collided with a vehicle while rollerblading.
The collision occurred about 3:38 p.m. Friday as Caitlyn Phillips, 13, of Elburn, was rollerblading on a downhill incline along East Reader Street in Elburn, according to police. Apparently unable to stop, she entered the intersection with North 3rd Street and collided with the left front corner of a vehicle, witnesses told police.
Elburn police and fire units responded to the report of a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle, according to news release from Elburn police, and transported Caitlyn to the emergency room at Delnor Community Hospital in Geneva, where she later was pronounced dead.
The crash is still under investigation by the Elburn Police Department and the multijurisdictional Kane County Accident Reconstruction Team, authorities said.
Caitlyn was a seventh-grade student at Harter Middle School. A letter posted on the school's website extends its "deepest condolences and sympathy to Caity's family and friends."
The Harter Middle School Support Team met Friday evening to "implement the post-crisis plan to support students and staff that will be impacted by this tragic news," the letter states.
It said additional counselors and staff will be present Monday to provide support as students and staff grieve. The school library will be the primary location for students to receive support, but counselors will be checking classrooms and all staff members will be alert and aware to help students who may need it during the course of the day.
There was no report of injury to the 34-year-old Elburn woman driving the vehicle involved in the collision.
Harter school parent Kevin O'Brien, an Elburn resident whose son went to school with Caitlyn, said his son and the other children in the school will be wearing yellow Monday.
"I think the whole community is mourning that something so terrible could happen," O'Brien said. "Their lives just changed in an instant. It's a parent's worst nightmare."
Betty Miller Gard, a family friend, said she remembers Caitlyn's smile in particular,
"I was a neighbor to them for a while, and (Caitlyn's) mom was the only person I trusted to baby-sit my daughter," she said. "They are a wonderful, loving, good close family. I feel so bad for them."
Gard said she wishes towns would provide more places like skate parks and basketball courts for preteens who like to play sports outdoors.