BUCHANAN, Mich. - Monday was a somber first day back from break for Buchanan High School students.
Teachers and staff told students that 17-year-old Samantha Abbott and her mother 41-year-old Tina Abbot died last week from injuries sustained in a car crash in late December. Samantha was a junior at the school.
“It’s our friend,” said Brooklyn Young, a junior at BHS. “We’re not used to our friends dying.” Samantha was pronounced dead at Memorial Hospital one day after her 17th birthday.
“She was really nice she had a good smile,” said Jason Hayes, a sophomore. “She always brightened everybody’s day up.”
The Abbotts were in a head-on collision December 29th on US-12 in Niles.
“As far as conditions it’s probably the worst case scenario,” said Michigan State Police Trooper Jeff Oudman. He said the pavement quickly changed to ice on the bridge over the St. Joseph River.
Oudman said it was raining and the temperature was 32 or 33 degrees. The pavement had traction on the road but the bridges were frozen. “Obviously it freezes on the bridges first and you can’t see it until it’s too late.”
Oudman said there’s no way drivers knew the concrete was covered with ice.
Now BHS students are left dealing with the outcome. “Nobody’s used to a teenager dying it’s too young to die,” said Young.
MSP said the accident was one of 15 or 16 accidents that happened on bridges in the area on the same day.
A fundraiser dinner will be held on Tuesday January 17th to help assist the family with funeral costs. It’ll be from 5:30-7:30 in the Buchanan High School cafeteria during the home basketball game.