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Fund started for children of woman killed by wrong-way driver on Thruway

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the two young children of the mother who was killed in a high-speed collision on the Thruway in the Town of Hamburg Friday night after another woman driving the wrong way struck her vehicle.

Amherst resident Jessica L. O'Connor, 29, was taken to Erie County Medical Center with serious injuries and died later that night. Her young children, Isabela, 2, and Matthew, 4, remain at Women and Children's Hospital. They are expected to recover.

"She was the most loving and caring person who would do anything for anyone," wrote Stephanie Marts about O'Connor. "Any donation would be a huge help to the family."

Marts set up the GoFundMe page to help the family cover funeral and child care expenses. As of early Sunday night, the page had raised about $3,000 toward a goal of $10,000.

The other driver, Wheatfield resident Debra E. Henn, 65, was driving west in the eastbound lanes of the interstate shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, according to State Police, while O'Connor was driving east.

O'Connor's boyfriend, Kenneth Skinner, was driving separately in the car ahead of her, according to social media posts from family and friends. He apparently saw the wrong-way driver and tried to swerve to cut off the vehicle to protect O'Connor and their children, but he was unsuccessful.

State Police said they are awaiting toxicology results before determining what charges might be levied against Henn.

In the meantime, O'Connor's extended family members and friends have been sharing messages of comfort, sympathy and support. A separate college trust is also being set up for the two children.

Aside from Skinner and their children, O'Connor is survived by her parents, Gregory and Kathleen O'Connor. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in St. Christopher Roman Catholic Church, 2660 Niagara Falls Blvd.


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