Pine River student killed in crash

WEXFORD COUNTY — A community and school district is mourning the death of a 16-year-old girl from LeRoy, who was killed on Saturday when the car she driving was struck by a pickup truck after failing to stop at a stop sign at Boon Road and S 39 Road.

Valerie VanAvery was driving southbound in her Dodge Neon on S 39 when she drove into the path of a westbound Chevrolet pickup truck traveling on Boon Road, according to a press release by the Wexford County Sheriff’s Office.

VanAvery would be starting her senior year at Pine River High School in a few weeks. Kim Miller, the high school principal, said the teen will be remembered for her bright smile, as a person who was encouraging, helpful and welcoming to others.

“She was a very pleasant girl,” said Miller. “The underclassmen looked up to her and she was really open and


VanAvery was very involved in school, participating in Destination Imagination and helping younger students in the program, volunteering for various school projects and assisting with the design of printed school programs. This year, she was named Miss LeRoy.

To help friends, teachers, family members and others with their grief, a Crisis Response Team was available on Sunday at the high school. More than 100 people attended, including the VanAvery family, said Pine River Area Schools Superintendent Jim Ganger.

“This is going to be ongoing at the start of the school year for staff, students and the community,” Ganger said.

The crash remains under investigation. Information concerning the driver of the truck is not available at this time.