Three members of a Peterborough family are among the four who lost their lives in a head-on collision on Highway 7 just east of the Peterborough city limits late Tuesday afternoon (November 22).
Before police released the names of the victims of the crash on Wednesday evening, a GoFundMe campaign created by family members and an email to parents sent by Debbie Callahan, principal of Thomas A. Secondary School in Peterborough, identified three of the victims as members of the MacHart (Hart & MacDonnell) family.
Stefphanie and Jon MacHart, along with their son Riddick, died in the crash. Their daughter Rowghan survived the crash, but was airlifted to a Toronto hospital with life-threatening injuries where she is in critical condition.
According to a report from CTV News Toronto, Riddick was 18 years old and Rowghan is 14 years old.
The collision between a pick-up truck and sport utility vehicle happened at around 5:!5 p.m. on Tuesday on Highway 7 near Drummond Line.
On Wednesday evening, Peterborough County OPP released the names of the victims in the sport utility vehicle as 46-year-old Jonathan MacDonnell, 52-year-old Stephanie Hart, and 18-year-old Riddick Hart, all of Otonabee-South Monaghan Township, and the deceased driver of the pick-up truck as 42-year-old Jason Schmidt of Hastings.
According to the email from Callahan, Riddick was a student at Thomas A. Secondary School, his sister also attends the school, and one of their parents worked at the school. CTV News Toronto reports Stephanie Hart was an educational assistant at the school.
“Our school community is shocked and grieving as we struggle to process this difficult news, and we understand that this will have an immediate and significant impact on our students, staff and families,” Callahan writes. “Together, we know you join us in offering our deepest condolences to the MacHart (Hart & MacDonnell) family.”
“We have sought the support of the mental health clinicians at our school board, for both students and staff,” Callahan writes. “This news has been shared directly with students this morning, and school board counsellors are available at the school to speak with anyone who needs support. Counsellors will remain available as long as needed. If you feel your child is in need of professional support, please contact us at the school, and we will make the necessary arrangements.”
Callahan says Thomas A. Secondary School has lowered its flag to half-mast “in our grief for the MacHart (Hart & MacDonnell) family.”
Tanya Hart has set up a GoFundMe campaign at www.gofundme.com/f/support-and-funeral-costs-for-the-machart-family raise funds for support and costs for the MacHart family. As of Wednesday afternoon, the campaign had already exceeded its initial $10,000 goal.
According to an update by Tanya Hart on GoFundMe, Rowghan has endured life-altering injuries. “With her grandparents by her side, she faced a second surgery today,” she wrote late Wednesday afternoon. “We are patiently waiting for an update.”
This story has been updated with the names of the victims of the crash released by Peterborough County OPP.