AMHERST, NY- The parents of an Amherst girl who was hit and killed by a car while on her way to a school playground last year is continuing their mission to keep her memory alive. They're also fighting, through their grief, to keep other children safe.
Fourteen months after Erin Suszynski, 13, was struck and killed by a car while crossing Maple Road to get to a school playground, a memorial still stands in her memory. Just feet away sits another sign of the danger of that intersection where a car recently crashed into this brick wall. Mary and Jerry Suszynski have made it their mission since losing Erin to help keep other children safe.
"The pain never goes away. You have to focus your energy on doing something good in her memory," said Erin's mother.
They're trying to raise awareness for drivers about the dangers of waving pedestrians across the street. Erin and her friend were waved by a driver to cross, but another driver did not see them and struck the girls.
They also want a yellow blinking light that turns red for pedestrians, as well as a crosswalk, at the corner of Maple Rd. and Culpepper, and Town Supervisor Dr. Barry Weinstein says he's in full support of it.
"The town has paid for a traffic study which has been completed. We're expecting a draft before the end of the month," said Weinstein.
Weinstein knows the dangers of that intersection all too well because he's lived at that corner for almost 40 years.
"I see the children walk across the street haphazardly and it's not safe," said Weinstein.
That's why he says no matter what the results of the study, he will encourage the rest of the town board to recommend that the county install the crosswalk.
But the Suszynskis are taking it one step further. They're hoping when the legislative session resumes in Albany next year that lawmakers will vote on Erin's Law, for the installation of crosswalks at all playgrounds and athletic fields statewide.
The Suszynskis created a foundation in their daughter's name, Erin's Crossings, and they're holding a dance-a-thon this weekend to help pay for the crosswalks and to keep Erin's legacy alive.
"The way she did things over the years, happy all the time, this is something that brings her spirit out," said Erin's father.
The benefit this Sunday will be from 11 to 4 at Samuel's Grand Manor in Clarence. Tickets are $20 for adults and $20 for kids. For more information click here.