Archive for Monday, April 2, 2012

Free State counselor killed in vehicle-train accident near Riverfront Park north of Lawrence

April 2, 2012, 2:52 a.m. Updated April 2, 2012, 5:13 p.m.

A Free State High School counselor died early Monday in a car-train collision just north of Lawrence, said Sgt. Steve Lewis, a Douglas County Sheriff’s spokesman.

Lewis said that about 2:20 a.m. Aimee Ziegler drove her westbound silver Honda car around crossing gates and onto the tracks, where it was hit by a southbound Union Pacific train near North 1800 Road and East 1450 Road, just east of the Riverfront Park in North Lawrence.

Aimee Ziegler, a counselor at Free State High School, died in an early-morning accident, Monday, April 2, 2012.

Aimee Ziegler, a counselor at Free State High School, died in an early-morning accident, Monday, April 2, 2012.

A licensed clinical social worker, Ziegler, 40, worked with hundreds of students in the Lawrence school district during the past 15 years. In 2008, she was hired as a counselor at Free State High School.

“She had a great relationship with all of the kids,” Free State principal Ed West said.

The intersection is west of Tee Pee Junction, which is the intersection of U.S. highways 24-40 and 24-59.

Mark Davis, a Union Pacific Railroad spokesman, said the train was carrying coal from Wyoming to East St. Louis, Ill. The train resumed its route about 7 a.m. He said the company was investigating the crash and that it offered counseling and support to the train’s crew.

“It’s a traumatic incident, in general, and our hearts always go out to the friends and family of the person that was struck,” Davis said. “But also to our train crew members because they had to witness a collision. Our message to drivers is always heed the warnings that are there. Those signals mean the same thing, and that’s yield the right of way to a train.”

On Monday, the Lawrence school district’s crisis support team was on hand at Free State as staff and students grieved. Ziegler, who was married, had three children.

“On behalf of the Lawrence Public Schools, I offer our deepest sympathies to Aimee’s family,” Superintendent Rick Doll said in a written statement. “We are saddened by this loss.”

Prior to her work as counselor at Free State, Ziegler helped start and then worked for Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center’s WRAP program. WRAP, which stands for Working to Recognize Alternative Possibilities, focuses on bringing mental health services to schools. Ziegler was a WRAP worker at Free State from 1997 to 2004 and at Wakarusa elementary school from 2004 to 2008.

Making sure students got the services they needed was a quality that defined Ziegler’s career, Bert Nash CEO David Johnson said.

“It’s a big loss for us. It’s a loss of a colleague and friend for a lot of staff here,” Johnson said.

When Ziegler worked with the WRAP program at Free State, she also spent time as an assistant girls’ soccer coach, an assistant girls’ basketball coach and an assistant boys’ soccer coach at the school.

West said Ziegler’s time with the WRAP program provided insight into the lives of at risk-students and children with severe needs. And, her coaching background gave her a unique perspective on athletes.

Despite a counseling case load of several hundred students a year, Ziegler made her students “feel like the most important thing to her,” when she met with them one-on-one, West said.

“She was someone who could relate well with kids and was full of life,” West said.

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Kansas train accident fatalities

Number of fatalities resulting from train accidents in Kansas since 1992. Also includes suicides. Information obtained from the Federal Railroad Administration.

Comments

ctrowbridge 3 years, 4 months ago

Thanks, sad_lawrencian. It's fixed now. (Not my best after getting a phone call in the middle of the night!) — Caroline Trowbridge, Community Editor

sad_lawrencian 3 years, 4 months ago

This paper should hire me as a copy editor. I'd be really good.

friendlyjhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

KEITHMILES05 3 years, 4 months ago

I've never understood people who drive around the barriers at rail road crossings. Unreal.

lawrencenerd 3 years, 4 months ago

I guess the victim has been identified as Aimee Ziegler. Did a quick google search and turned this up, but I don't know if it is the same person.

http://www.aimeezieglercounseling.com/p/about-me.html

Charles L Bloss Jr 3 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

otto 3 years, 4 months ago

Since her name was released on TV news channels already I don't think lawrencenerd dropped any bombs unless there family has no tv's or radios.

kernal 3 years, 4 months ago

And if the tv stations had not released her name?

otto 3 years, 4 months ago

they had released it, hence where he got it.

Mike Frizzell 3 years, 4 months ago

The family was notified before 6 a.m., according to the Sheriff's Office. I learned and published the victim's name shortly after when I was informed of the identification and next of kin notification was complete.

http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/overnight-wrap-up/2012/apr/2/april-2nd-early-morning-law-enforcement-/

and

http://operation100news.blogspot.com/2012/04/car-vs-train-accident-kills-one-person.html

JackMcKee 3 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

mrus3671 3 years, 4 months ago

Just because we live in the age of technology should we loose sight of people and their feelings!!! No matter the circumstances the family deserves respect!!! So sad that with all the technology we have it seems as though respect for other peoples feelings has been lost!! To the family of the victim my you be surrounded by those who love you and my you find strength to get through this time. You will be in my thoughts & prayers.

Bursting 3 years, 4 months ago

there's nothing disrespectful about the knowledge of who was in the accident, if any thing it increases the amount of respect and condolences the family receives.

somebodynew 3 years, 4 months ago

I don't have a real problem with putting the name out there (since it was already out), but to post a link to a site and then say " but I don't know if it is the same person" is just totally irresponsible. What if that isn't the same person???? Did you even consider that and what that might do if it isn't???

No, you just wanted to be the First at something. Pitiful.

chootspa 3 years, 4 months ago

Anyone who knows someone with the same name would have already checked to see if it was the person they knew as soon as the name went out to the media.

whats_going_on 3 years, 4 months ago

why are you all fighting over whether or not her name was posted or where? Jeez, what is the big deal? Get over it.

Thinking of her family and friends. I knew her, and it is a tragedy. Whether or not she should have been crossing the tracks, it's horrible.

Silly_me 3 years, 4 months ago

This is so terrible. My daughter knew this person through the high school and she is completely devastated...my thoughts and prayers go to the victim's family.

KEITHMILES05 3 years, 4 months ago

Family and friends will NOT be on here reading about this situation. They are supporting one another so the hogwash and lame chastizing posters is ridiculous. This is a "newspaper" which reports the news regardless of what it is. Leave the pity part and hurt feelings out of it.

John_Tesh 3 years, 4 months ago

She was our soccer coach. She was absolutely wonderful with my son and the rest of the kids. This is devastating ... my thoughts and prayers go out to her beautiful family.

Aimee Polson 3 years, 4 months ago

I never met Aimee, but I always felt a bond with her since we shared the same name. I received calls from her friends when I had a baby because they thought that I was her. We also both worked on WRAPS projects in the Wakarusa area. Reading her name in the paper made my stomach lurch. Given her work in the community, I can only imagine how sickened people are by this news. Sympathies to her family and friends.

sportsmom2724 3 years, 4 months ago

I am so sorry to hear of the tragic death of Aimee, she did an amazing job with our children at Freestate, she will be missed. My thoughts and prayers for the family & friends she left behind.

rocketmom67 3 years, 4 months ago

In the aftermath of this tragic accident, there are grief counselors available at Freestate High School for students and staff members. Please encourage your children to touch base with a grief counselor this week if needed.

irvan moore 3 years, 4 months ago

this is a tragedy and i feel badley for her family

Maxandwillie 3 years, 4 months ago

I knew Aimee and she helped me deal with some tough times in my life. My heart goes out to her family and know that she had a positive impact on literally thousands of people.

Scotchguard 3 years, 4 months ago

This is so sad. My children and I have dealt with Aimee for the past three years at Free State and she was just top notch every time we had occasion to need her help with anything from class changes to scholarship applications. This is a huge loss to Free State. My condolences to her family, especially to her young children.

Aimee Polson 3 years, 4 months ago

I never met Aimee, but I always felt a bond with her since we shared the same name. I received calls from her friends when I had a baby because they thought that I was her. We also both worked on WRAPS projects in the Wakarusa area. Reading her name in the paper made my stomach lurch. Given her work in the community, I can only imagine how sickened people are by this news. Sympathies to her family and friends.

Matthew Herbert 3 years, 4 months ago

many years ago I interviewed Aimee for a program she was leading to help kids. I remember my impression of her was that she was a geniunely good person with honest intentions. As a natural pessimist myself, I tend to seek out and identify the character faults of people...with Aimee though, I remember walking away empty on criticisms.

Robin Smith 3 years, 4 months ago

OMG Coach Z, holy moly... I can't believe this :(

guess_again 3 years, 4 months ago

How can something so tragic like this happen? It is simply unanswerable.

Kristen Murphy 3 years, 4 months ago

Prayers go out to Aimee's family, husband and kids. Her husband was my English teacher and I just cannot imagine what he's going through.

rivercitymom 3 years, 4 months ago

Yes, prayers for sure. This is just awful beyond belief. She helped my family, lots, with a situation that arose out of "bratty teenager syndrome" and I greatly appreciated her levity, sense of humor and words of wisdom.

Brandi Simpson-Glover 3 years, 4 months ago

prayers to the Ziegler and Polson families, Aimee was an amazing person

intheknow 3 years, 4 months ago

Such a heartbreaking tragedy. My thoughts and prayers have been with this family all day.

ahs_pants 3 years, 4 months ago

Mrs. Ziegler was my counselor and she was very good at her job. This is a great loss; she was such a great person. She always had a smile on her face. Prayers to her whole family. This is tragic. She will be missed.

texburgh 3 years, 4 months ago

Aimee was my daughter's counselor at LFSHS. She was a tremendous person and a tireless advocate for students. So many kids who might have benefited from her devotion in the future have lost a valued friend. My heart goes out to her family and the Free State family as well.

mjashmore 3 years, 4 months ago

Thoughts and prayers are with Aimee's family, Free State, and all those associated with her. My heart goes out to all.

Bob Forer 3 years, 4 months ago

Three children just lost their mother. A husband lost a loving wife. A community lost a great friend, professional and neighbor. This is all much too sad to fathom. My heart goes out to the family.

kugrad 3 years, 4 months ago

People all around the district were mourning Aimee today - she was widely liked by her peers. The WRAP program she started is very popular with teachers, as they understand its importance. What a tragic loss to our community. Peace be with you Mrs. Ziegler and may healing come to those who love you.

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