The day after a horrific crash on Ham Lane on Tuesday that left six people dead, Lodi Unified School District began offering counseling services to students at two schools attended by the victims.
LUSD superintendent Cathy Washer confirmed Wednesday that two of the children who died in the crash at the Ham Lane and Vine Street intersection were siblings, as well as students at Lodi Middle and Heritage Elementary schools.
A third child from the same family, identified by officials as one of the people killed in the collision, was also a student at Heritage Elementary.
“First thing this morning, our crisis team went to Lodi Middle School to speak with our students,” Washer said. “They will head to Heritage later in the day.”
She said the crisis team was going to discuss how to cope with tragedy and loss with the students as a group. Students were also offered individual counseling on-site after a group discussion, she said.
The victims were identified as 30-year-old Luis Miranda, 31-year-old Vivian Rodriguez, 11-year-old Irving Miranda, 5-year-old Jose Miranda and 4-year-old Stephanie Miranda. A 9-year-old boy, the lone survivor from the family, was still in critical condition at a local hospital Wednesday night.
Lodi Middle School is located on the southwest corner of Ham Lane and Vine Street, the intersection that was the scene of the multi-vehicle crash.
Scott McGregor, Lodi Middle principal, said he received a call from Lodi Police Department at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night. McGregor called two of his vice principals, and when school began Wednesday morning, the three of them sent emails to their staff.
He said the district’s crisis team included two additional psychologists, who assisted Lodi Middle’s own school psychologist and counseling staff.
The school’s lead counselor met with each class personally to explain the tragedy and what services were available to cope with the loss.
The district’s crisis team was in the school’s library to meet with students who needed additional counseling, including those who knew Irving Miranda.
McGregor said it was a difficult day for staff, teachers and students alike. He described Irving Miranda as a fun-loving, dynamic and successful student.
He said Irving Miranda had been at the afterschool Bridge Program offered by the district, which provides free education, homework assistance and enrichment opportunities, according to Lodi Middle School’s website.
“Watching the staff and students here pull together was just beautiful,” McGregor said. “It was wonderful to see the closeness and companionship our students and staff were showing for a young man who lost his life.”
The staff at Heritage Elementary declined to comment, directing questions to the district office.