Mom shares grief after New Year’s crash that killed 3 children
A community is bonding together to help a family after a tragic car crash claimed the lives of three children on New Year’s Day.
Uche Osagie was driving back to Sudbury, Ont. when the car left Highway 17 and crashed into a rock cut. Her sons Destiny, 11, and Flourish, 10, died on that snowy highway.
Her daughter Britney, 6, died later in hospital. Police said a 10-year-old boy, not related to the other children, was airlifted to hospital with life-threatening injuries. His 45-year-old mother was also a passenger in the car and suffered minor injuries.
Pastor Christian Mgbokwere, who has been attending to Uche Osagie since the crash, said the community has been more than supportive.
Funeral home operator Gerry Lougheed has been in daily contact with the pastor, and has helped set funeral arrangements for the three children. Mgbokwere said Glad Tidings Church has been “ready to give us every assistance.”
“I’ve received calls from people I don’t know,” he said. “From the time [Osagie] was in the hospital…everybody’s really tried.”
“The whole community’s devastated,” he said. “So they are trying in any way to assist the family through these trying times. So I appreciate that so much.”
A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help ease some of the financial pressures. It’s so far raised over $17,000. Osagie said her children were musical, a trait they inherited from her.
“My daughter Britney likes to dance and Destiny loved to sing a lot,” Osagie said. “He told me he was going to be a rapper.”
“And my son Flourish loved to play basketball.”
The school the kids attended– Chelmsford Public School– flew the Canadian flag at half-mast today.
A spokesperson for the Rainbow District School Board said in a release that the board’s mental health team will be at the school today to help. “We extend our deepest sympathy to all those who have been touched by this tragedy,” said the release.
“We will offer supportive talks with caring adults and more assistance, as needed,” it continued. “Students will have an opportunity to pay tribute to their classmates through a book of remembrance in the foyer… We will share the book with the family.”
The road back from Toronto
Osagie, who recently fled Nigeria, said she received a letter from Immigration Canada on December 23, saying her application to stay in the country had been rejected.
She said she was given 15 days to respond at the risk of deportation.
Osagie drove to Toronto, spending the Christmas holidays searching for a lawyer to appeal the case. She finally found a lawyer to represent her family, and was making the 400 kilometre trip back.
“My son Destiny said ‘no, I’m not going back to Nigeria,” Osagie said. “I want to live in Canada. I would rather die than be deported.”
“Today, my son is going to be buried in Canada.”
Mgbokwere added that fears of deportation plague the Nigerian community in Canada.
“Most of us here are facing the same situation, our individual claims had been rejected, most of us are awaiting their removal from here,” he said.
“We are only asking the Immigration….please if they can be able to allow us to stay here,” he said. “A lot of families are in trauma here. If we deport them now when they get to Nigeria they face the same situation. Most of them would die of different ways.”
The funeral for the Osagie family is expected to be on January 18.