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CAS Workers and Foster Kids in Crash
December 26, 2011 permalink
Two Belleville Ontario CAS workers were killed and two foster children were seriously injured in a car crash just before Christmas.
Teachers were dedicated "heroes"
On the day they died, Jennifer Bugg and Andrea Manan were celebrating an act of charity.
Bugg, 31, and Manan, 27, died Tuesday in a three-vehicle collision on Highway 37 at Wisers Road, south of Harmony Road.
But just before noon that day, Bugg sent an e-mail message to co-workers of Connor Homes, a private and provincially-licensed network of foster and group homes. She and Manan were teachers at the firm's New Directions foster home on Wiser Road, where they taught literacy.
In the message, the teachers announced they and their students had raised about $905 for the Christmas Sharing Program, which provides food baskets to people in need at Christmas.
"Thanks again to everyone who donated and a special thanks to our New Directions students for their hard work and kind hearts," they wrote.
A little more than an hour later, Manan and Bugg were gone.
Two of the students Bugg referred to were injured, both passengers in the same vehicle as Manan and Bugg.
Connor homes executive director Bob Connor described the pair as "empathetic.
"They were dedicated," he said. "They certainly had a challenging job."
He said their fundraising for Christmas Sharing "speaks volumes about who they were — their compassion, their caring and their ideas of community service."
Their students are those in care of the Children's Aid Society. Connor said they receive literacy instruction and counselling.
While some students may not be keen to study, Connor recalled seeing one who was quite insistent that Bugg resume their lessons.
"I thought, 'Boy, there's some magic happening here,'" said Connor.
He said they had each worked at New Directions for two to three years and had four students there.
Nicole Kiss, a former foster parent who knew both women, said they were "amazing" and well-respected.
"Jennifer and Andrea, they were wonderful, wonderful women. … They gave their time every day to these girls.
"I can't think of one young individual who didn't respect them and didn't love them.
"They touched the lives of probably hundreds and hundreds of kids," Kiss said.
She said Manan was married mother with a son, while Bugg had family in Brighton and cared for her grandmother despite working "probably 70-hour weeks."
"Jenn dedicated her life to Connor Homes," said Kiss.
"Anybody who needed a hand or was in need, Jenn was always there.
"Andrea was a wonderful mom ... who couldn't wait for the evenings and weekend times to spend with her husband and son," she said.
"These women are heroes."
Source: Belleville Intelligencer
Addendum: A later article gives a few more facts about the injured girls and their group home.
‘We should have done something sooner’
A group of Corbyville residents are steering a petition to fuel an overhaul of a deadly Highway 37 intersection.
Joy Court residents are revving up their bid to address the treacherous Wiser Road and Highway 37 intersection where two women were killed during a three vehicle collision on Dec. 20.
The women died when the car they were driving was rear-ended by a northbound transport truck, while they were attempting to make a left-hand turn onto Wiser Road. The impact pushed their vehicle into the path of a southbound car.
Members of the group behind the petition are calling for appropriate signage, road markings, a blinking amber light and a designated left turn lane with a separate lane for through traffic, as potential options to alert drivers of the upcoming left turn. The grouping is planning a meeting in the new year.
One of the people spearheading the petition is Rick Lake, a Belleville firefighter, who, while off duty, discovered the crash last week while en route to his Joy Court home.
Lake said his routine drive home instantly turned into an nightmarish experience when he spotted the dismantled vehicles sprawled all over the highway before emergency crews arrived. He instantly knew "this is not going to be good."
The veteran firefighter sprung into action, scanning through the wreckage, where he discovered two lifeless women, a teenager fighting for her life and a fourth woman groaning from agonizing pain.
With the assistance of an off duty paramedic who arrived at the scene, Lake provided assistance to the remaining two women, one of whom was trapped inside the crumpled car in which the two females had died. He said the teenager was falling in and out of consciousness.
"She got smashed up very bad," he said. "She was pinned in there hard."
Central Hastings OPP said Andrea Manan, 27, of Frankford and Jenn Bugg, 31, of Brighton, were in a northbound silver Chevrolet Aveo on the highway shortly before 1 p.m. Bugg was driving.
Bugg and Manan were pronounced dead at the scene; one of their two teenage passengers was airlifted to Kingston General Hospital, while a second girl and occupants of the other vehicles were treated in hospital.
The women's employer, Bob Connor, executive director of Connor Homes, operators of the Wiser Road foster home said the passenger airlifted to Kingston would "likely be in the hospital for two or three weeks."
Lake's wife, Erin, said it saddens her to know that it took the lost of life to spark a community campaign for a well-needed change on an infamous stretch of highway.
"The nickname is killer highway," she said. "I learned that when I moved here."
She said the community intends to follow through until change is achieved. She pointed out several neighbours have encountered close calls at the left turn.
"We talked about it and now we have a guilty feeling that we should have done something sooner," she said.
The Lakes have been residing in the subdivision for 11 years, but the intersection is also troubling to newcomers like Ryan Rivers. Rivers said he's now petrified to commute in that area with his two young children.
Rivers' major concern is infrequent users of the highway who are unaware of the unusual layout of the winding highway and its many hidden intersections.
"Is there a point where risk outweighs the cost?" he said.
A similar system to the Wiser Road left turn is used at Highway 62 and Fenwood Crescent in Prince Edward County, where southbound vehicles have to swerve into a marked right lane, to avoid left-turning vehicles.
Police did not indicate if charges were forthcoming in last weeks collision.
Source: Belleville Intelligencer