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Athletic fund opened in honor of Wales girl killed in crash

A fund is being started to raise money for athletic facilities at Wales Primary School in memory of a 9-year-old student who was killed in a head-on crash Tuesday.

The victim was identified as Katie Durkin, who was pronounced dead in Mercy Hospital, South Buffalo, after a collision between a pickup and a van on Two Rod Road near Route 20A in Wales.

Erie County sheriff’s deputies charged the driver of the pickup, Mark W. Korzelius, 52, of Marilla, with second-degree vehicular manslaughter, second-degree vehicular assault and driving while his ability was impaired by drugs.

Deputies said Korzelius’ pickup crossed the center line and collided head-on with a van in which the girl was riding.

The van driver was Gail L. Hoffman, 57, of South Wales, a friend of the Durkin family. Hoffman remains in Erie County Medical Center, where her condition was upgraded to good on Saturday.

Korzelius was reportedly unhurt. He is being held without bail in Erie County Holding Center, pending court action.

Donations are being sought for a Katie Durkin Memorial Athletic Park, which would be built at Wales Primary School. Obituary information released by Wood Funeral Home in East Aurora said Katie enjoyed softball, soccer, skiing, riding her four-wheeler, as well as playing with her American Girl dolls. Other than two pieces of playground equipment for climbing, the school lacks any outdoor athletic facilities.

Donations may be sent to the Wales Primary Parent-Teacher Organization, in care of Liz Miller, P.O. Box 74, South Wales, NY 14139.

According to a Facebook post from the Wales PTO, a box for donations also will be set up at the funeral home, 784 Main St., East Aurora, where calling hours are 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday in Crossroads Christian Church, 1050 Girdle Road, Elma.

The family wrote in the obituary that the girl, whose full name was Katherine Elizabeth Durkin, “was a funny, creative, quirky, bright, always happy, loving kid.”

Survivors include her parents, Jeff and Ellen Durkin; sisters Sarah and Julia; and grandparents.