Tragedy Strikes Mehoopany Family Twice

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WYOMING COUNTY -- Two kids lost to crashes in only a year is stunning news for many who knew the family in Wyoming County. The latest wreck killed 17-year old Natasha Canfield. She was still mourning her 12-year-old brother's death from last year.

A memorial along the side of this back road in Wyoming County marks where state police say Natasha Canfield, 17,was killed when she crashed into a dump truck Monday afternoon near Mehoopany.

"We`re all in shock. We don`t even know what to do, except cry," said co-worker Michele Cook.

Her co-workers at the Tioga Bistro say the teen was just weeks away from her 18th birthday and was planning to go to culinary school at Keystone College this fall.

"Very difficult, everyone is having a very difficult time with it," added Cook. "She was a part of our family."

Workers have started collecting money for her family. Who suffered another tragedy just last June, when her 12-year-old brother died in an ATV accident.

Just down the road from the restaurant is Tunkhannock High School, where Natasha graduated this year.

"We really are affected by that.  The family has undergone a great deal of tragedy in the last year or so, the school would certainly like to express it`s deepest sympathies to Natasha`s family and friends," said superintendent Michael Healey.

Now Natasha`s high school is partnering with Tunkhannock borough police and the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce to try to stop more accidents like this from happening.

"We are a very close-knit community. We have suffered several tragedies within the last year, so it promoted the community to make sure we can avoid this if at all possible, going forward, said Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Maureen Dispenza.

Dispenza lost a daughter last June in deadly crash along Route 6.  After seeing the wreckage from Natasha's crash. She began working with the school and police department to bring a drivers safety course to Tunkhannock High School junior and seniors.

"If it helps just lessen someone`s trauma in life or reduce an event or prevent an event, that effort will be worth everything we put into it collectively," said Tunkhannock Police Corporal Robert Roberts.

"It`s our goal and our hope that this type of education will continue and avoid future fatalities," Dispenza added. "I can tell you it`s devastating to families."

A memorial fund has been set up at Peoples National Bank for Natasha Canfield.  Anyone looking to donate can stop in to any branch or mail a check in the teen's memory.  All of the money will be given to the family to help pay for expenses.