Four-year-old Mariia Bundur is being remembered as a student who was always smiling, polite and courteous to her friends.
The child was a passenger in a three-vehicle collision that occurred at about 8:20 p.m. Monday at Glendon Drive and Melbourne Road in Southwest Middlesex Township.
Ontario Provincial Police say she was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries, where she was pronounced dead. Two other people involved in the collision were taken to hospital with serious injuries.
Bunder, who was from Appin, Ont., attended kindergarten at Ekcoe Central Public School in Glencoe.
“Mariia is a student that is always smiling, she was a student that came in happy every day,” said Cheryl Nichols, the school’s principal.
“Very polite and courteous to her friends, super kind, very social. Was always a kind friend to others and wanting to play with others.”
Students and staff deal with the loss
The Thames Valley District School Board’s Traumatic Response team was at Ekcoe Central on Tuesday to support students and staff.
“Grief is really interesting when it’s young students involved,” said Nichols. “We like to describe grief as kind of splashing in puddles. So often times students might splash in a puddle and ask a simple question like, ‘Is she going to be here tomorrow?’ or ‘How does a car accident happen?” Then they might run and go play.”
The students might ask another question a couple days later, said Nichols.
“Our staff try to keep as consistent as possible. Many of our student thrive on that routine and safety and consistency of the day,” she said. “We had a separate room set up for students if they needed time to just colour or ask questions.”
Another room was set up for teachers who needed a break and coverage was arranged.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation and police have not said if charges are pending.