The sunny spring day lifted all spirits. A 4th grade teacher was heading toward home in her mini-van. Her one year old in a car seat in the back along with a four year old she was watching for the afternoon. This was spring break week from school.
As Jennifer Miles headed west on 690, a man in his 60's named Nevada West was travelling east on the other side of the divided highway. His boat was on a trailer. Suddenly a wheel on the trailer came loose and popped off.
Keep in mind the speed on this stretch of highway runs in the range of 60 to 70 miles per hour.
That was the speed of that flying wheel as it bounced into the oncoming lane. Police tell us the struck the teacher's van head on. It doesn't take an expert in physics to understand the tire's speed plus her van's speed are added together to reach the velocity at impact. That's well over 100 miles per hour.
Jennifer would hardly have a second to see it coming or react. Whatever instant of a time she had she sacrificed her own life and saved the lives of those two children in the back seat. They survived with minor bumps and bruises.
In our newsroom once we learned her name we found her photo on Facebook. Her smile revealed a woman enjoying life. We discovered she was a teacher in Baldwinsville. Mrs. Miles: 4th grader teacher at McNamara Elementary.
This is a tragedy that appears to have started with the careless act of a boat owner who skipped the process of properly registering his trailer with the DMV. State Police are still investigating what charges will be appropriate.
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