Eastern Pulaski Community Schools Corporation begins coping with incredible loss
WINAMAC, Ind.-- Thirty-eight eighth grade students were on their way to an annual Christmas concert.
At 9:06 a.m., their bus stopped at a railroad crossing, as required by law, and was struck in the rear left side of the bus by a flatbed truck, killing 13-year-old own Owen Abbot.
“Wow, it’s been huge. A day that was supposed to be fun-filled. A trip that we’ve taken with 8th graders for several years, ends tragically," said Dan Foster Superintendent of Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation. “It’s something that this school or community has not felt in a long time, and people are hurting.”
Superintendent Dan Foster says the school is offering students and teachers additional resources like counseling, including emotional support dogs to help everyone deal with their grief.
“They don’t know whether to be mad or to be upset. They’re just not sure. Many of them have not been through this. Losing a classmate is very difficult," said Foster.
Parents, students, and community members are offering support of their own.
“We may be a small town but we got a real big hear. I feel like it brought the community together in such a tragic time,” said Cyndi Daniels, a grandparent of a Winamac High School student.
“Stay strong, Winamac is here for you. We are the warriors of Winamac. Warriors stay strong and fight,” said student Sarah Vukobradovich.
“With the tragedy that’s happened in surrounding schools, I never thought it would hit home as close as it did. Just be thankful for who’s in your house and gets to wake up in the morning,” said Winamac Schools alumnus Will Planck.
Foster says these counseling services will be available for the next few days and believes warriors is their mascot for a reason.
“We are warriors, we are warrior strong. We have an unbelievable community, good things can come out of unfortunate things. I truly believe this will make our school cooperation and our community every stronger," said Foster.
The investigation is still ongoing. The bus is set to be examined Friday, December 7, by authorities.