Teen Killed by Ambulance
By: Arnold Wyrick
GOLCONDA, Ill. - The flags outside the Pope County Junior High School hung at half-staff on Tuesday morning. The flags were lowered after 13-year-old Brett McDaniel was killed while riding his bicycle with a friend on Monday evening.
The fatal crash happened as Brett was riding down Rosalie Street and the ambulance was traveling south on Adams Street. For some unknown reason Brett didn't stop at the stop sign and rode right into the side of the passing ambulance. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
On Tuesday grief counselors were called into the school to help Brett's fellow classmates deal with his death.
"A lot of these kids struggle with how to go on, how to go on living. They feel like they can't laugh anymore or do the things they once did because someone they care about is no longer here," said Frank Forthman of the Family Counseling Center.
Many of Brett's classmates shared their feelings of loss and remorse on posters hanging on the walls near his locker. There were many hand-written prayers covering Brett's locker.
"First of all you go into shock that all this isn't happening. Then you switch into a different mode, to what do I need to do to help the students," said Principal Ed Blankenship.
Brett was just getting started on his 8th grade classes when his life was cut tragically short.
"He was really starting to turn things around this year. Even his teachers were talking about how well he was doing. He was probably having his best year yet," Principal Blankenship said.
The Illinois State Police are handling the investigation into how the fatal crash happened.