More than $7,000 was raised to support a Scroggs Elementary School student who lost his mother and middle-school aged sister in a car accident.
Abigail Rice, 12, was traveling with her mother, Heather Rice, 43, on U.S. 15-501 near Pittsboro on Oct. 21when a tractor-trailer hit their vehicle, according to the state highway patrol. The mother and daughter, who lived in Chapel Hill, were killed in the accident. The truck’s driver sustained minor injuries in the crash.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools responded on Oct. 22 by sending a crisis response team to Culbreth Middle School. Executive Director of Community Relations Jeff Nash said the team, comprised of nurses, psychologists and social workers from other local schools, worked with Culbreth’s staff to support student needs.
“Please know this is the most difficult issue a school will face,” Principal Monica Bentz said in an email sent to Culbreth families and staff. “But we will lock arms and help one another.”
Abigail's brother, Jack Rice, is a fourth-grade student at Scroggs Elementary. The school’s PTA has combined efforts with Culbreth Middle to make a GoFundMe page for the family. Robert Rice, Jack and Abigail’s father, is listed as the beneficiary of the page.
“On October 21, 2019, our community lost two special people when Heather and Abigail Rice were killed in a car accident," the fundraiser page says. "Jack’s father immediately traveled to Chapel Hill from Nebraska. He has not asked for help, but we know that he will incur significant costs. The Culbreth and Scroggs PTAs would like to show our support for the family and help in any way we can.”
The fundraiser has surpassed its goal of $5,000 as local businesses and community members shared the page on Facebook.
“The loss of a student is a tragedy that changes our lives forever. We will never be the same without Abigail,” Nash said. “We greatly appreciate Principal Monica Bintz and her team at Culbreth Middle for helping us all this week with their guidance, wisdom and compassion.”