CHEEKTOWAGA, NY — We are hearing from the mother of a 14-year-old who lost her life after an ATV crash in Clarence over the weekend.
Her family says Mikaela Gwitt was riding the ATV with her boyfriend when it rolled over on a bike path.
The loss of a child is news that no parent ever wants to hear. But, for one Cheektowaga family, it's news that's unfortunately all too familiar.
"Mikaela was my everything, she was like a little me, we did everything together she was always by my side," said Ann Potoczniak, the mother of Mikaela Gwitt, "she had that beautiful smile."
Ann Potoczniak says her daughter was fearless and went for ride on an ATV last Saturday with her boyfriend. The Erie County Sheriff's Office says the ATV rolled over on a bike path between Gunnville and Wehrle Roads. The crash remains under investigation.
Mikaela suffered serious injuries and was taken to Women and Children's Hospital. Her family says Mikaela passed away Wednesday afternoon.
"And we had to learn once already that life is short," Potoczniak said.
That's because nearly three years ago, the family lost their older daughter Amanda, when her car collided with a tractor trailer in Marilla. She was just 19 years old.
"Mikaela took it really really hard because her and Amanda were very very close," her mom said, "she was getting happier and now this she didn't deserve it."
Her family and friends say Mikaela was a great person to be around.
"She was just so kind hearted and a beautiful soul and just everything about her was amazing," said Hollie Lageman, a friend of Mikaela's.
Mikaela was a freshman at Depew, who played on the basketball team. Mikaela's family says later in life she wanted to a dermatologist. And, they have a message for every parent and every teenager.
"I think it's important to learn from somebody else's tragic misfortune to actually get something out of it if one person learned something to take precautions to follow the law," said Chrissy Ratka, a family friend.
Her family says Mikaela had a lot of friends in the Depew/Cheektowaga area and that they thank all of them for their support.
Mikaela's family says her wake is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 29, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Sliwinski's funeral home.
The funeral will be at Saint Philip the Apostle Church on Losson Rd. at 10 a.m. Monday Oct. 30.