Help Needed: Hudson Valley Teen Educator Killed In Suspicious Crash In New York
A young Hudson Valley educator was killed in a crash that remains under investigation. Police are asking for help as they investigate.
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On Monday, New York State Police from Ulster County asked the public for help following a fatal crash in the Town of Gardiner, New York
New York State Police Investigating Fatal Car Crash in the Town of Gardiner, New York
New York State Police from Troop F is investigating a fatal motor vehicle accident that occurred on Friday, September 23, 2022, at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Sand Hill Road in the town of Gardiner.
The preliminary investigation revealed that 19-year-old Hailee Witherel of Orange County was driving a gray Nissan Sentra northbound on Sand Hill Road when her vehicle exited the roadway.
Her car entered a small pond and overturned. Witherel was unable to exit her vehicle, police say. It's unclear what caused the teen's car to drive off the road and into the pond.
Orange County, New York Teen Dies After Driving Into Pound
Witherel was taken to the MidHudson Regional Hospital in Poughkeepsie where she was pronounced deceased, police say.
"Every parent's worst nightmare happened to our family. Our beautiful daughter Hailee tragically lost her life in an auto accident. We are broken beyond words and pray that we wake up and our sweet girl is still with us. Please keep our family in your prayers and thank you to those who have already reached out in so many thoughtful ways," Helen Rogers Witherel wrote on Facebook.
A GoFundMe was set up to help the teen's family. The GoFundMe's goal was to raise $2,000. Nearly $26,000 has been raised, as of Tuesday morning.
"Every parent's worst nightmare happened to the Witheral family. Their beautiful daughter Hailee tragically lost her life in an auto accident. They are truly heartbroken. Please keep their family in your thoughts and prayers and thank you for any support you may offer," Mary Jo Serrao states in the GoFundMe.
Teen Worked At Popular Newburgh, Eatery
Witherel graduated from Wallkill Senior High School. She worked at Handsome Devil and as a teacher's aide at a Hudson Valley school helping children with extra needs, according to Handsome Devil.
"She was so looking forward to seeing her students this year and I know they were as well to see her," Handsome Devil wrote on Facebook. "Hailee helped us at various events and if we catered your private event there is a good chance you got to experience her larger-than-life smile and attitude."
Cause Of Crash Remains Under Investigation By New York State Police
Police are asking for help in figuring out what happened in the moments before the crash. Reports on social media state Hailee's car may have been hit by a dark-colored Jeep that fled the scene. Police have yet to confirm those reports but ask for help as they investigate.
"This accident is still under investigation and anyone who may have been traveling on Sand Hill Road at that time is asked to contact the New York State Police, SP Highland barracks at 845-691-2922," New York State Police stated in a press release.