Tragic death of popular teacher breaks hearts in Baldwinsville

Jennifer Miles

It will be a terribly difficult return to school next week for students in one fourth-grade class at Baldwinsville's McNamera Elementary School. Teacher Jennifer Miles, 33, was killed Thursday in a horrifying freak accident on I-690, just west of Syracuse in VanBuren. A tire that had come off a boat trailer bounced clear across the median and slammed into Miles' windshield. Two children in the car suffered minor injuries.

"When I first heard there was a crash, it goes to the pit of your stomach because you think, God, I hope it's nobody that I know," said Amy Hirsh, a mother from Baldwinsville. "It's just so sad. She was so young, she had her child in the car," Hirsh added.

Others in Baldwinsville worry about the impact the popular teacher's sudden death will have on her 4th grade students. " I can only imagine what Baldwinsville is gonna think when they hear about this and how many broken hearts there's gonna be," neighbor Tara Pickard said.

State Police are still investigating the accident, but already know the tire that flew into Miles' car came off a boat trailer that was headed in the opposite direction on I-690. Captain Jeffrey Raub said, "This is a complicated incident. It's also a very tragic incident, I might add. It's just a fluke, a very, very unfortunate situation."

The trailer was being driven by Nevada West III, 62, of Liverpool. The trailer had not been registered, State Police confirm. That is a troubling fact for people in Baldwinsville. "It's a little disturbing that people are just getting right on the road without taking safety precautions, and obviously the innocent have to pay for it," Paul Tallman said.