'It's difficult': Signal Hill School District offers counseling after third-grader dies

News-DemocratOctober 29, 2013 

Signal Hill School District 181 had counselors available to students and staff members who needed it Monday following the death of third-grader Alfredo McGee Jr., 8.

"We want to be here for all of our students who need it," District 181 Superintendent Suzette Lambert said. "It's difficult for students, adults and the entire staff. It touches everyone in a little different way."

Alfredo died in a car crash Friday when a cargo van rear-ended a stalled or slow-moving car in the northbound lane of Interstate 55. Armondo McGee, 2, and Alea Shannon, 27, also died in the crash.

A van collided with the back of a 2000 Impala sedan they were seated in, according to the Illinois State Police, at about 5:20 a.m. Friday. The 2002 Ford Van was driven by Senad Hodzic, 26, of St. Louis, police said. Hodzic was not seriously injured.

Sisters Annastashia, 6, and Alicea McGee, 5, were also injured in the crash. Lambert said Alicea is in kindergarten and Annastashia is in the first grade at Signal Hill School in Belleville. "Three different classrooms were impacted by the tragedy," she said.

Both Annastashia and Alicea were airlifted to Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis. A spokeswoman for Cardinal Glennon declined to provide the girls' current conditions on Monday. Shannon and the boys Armondo and Alfredo were pronounced dead at the scene, according to the state police.

The McGee family of East St. Louis is new to the Signal Hill District, according to Lambert, and has only attended the school for two or three weeks.

Alfredo McGee, 31, the Impala's driver, was taken to Litchfield Hospital, and then airlifted to St. Johns Hospital in Springfield. His current condition is stable.

Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or jforsythe1@bnd.com.

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