Milford Community Mourns Principal & Daughter Killed In Crash - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Milford Community Mourns Principal & Daughter Killed In Crash

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MILFORD, Del. – Members of the Milford School District community are still searching for answers after Milford Central Academy's beloved principal, Dr. Tricia Martin, and her 10-year-old daughter were killed in car crash Friday.

"I was very shocked when I heard the news, and I was hoping all the time that it was a mistake and wasn't true," says Marvin Schelhouse, president of the Milford School District Board of Education.

"It was really difficult to accept the fact I had just talked to her," says Dr. Phyllis Kohel, superintendent of the Milford School District. "Within a matter of hours it felt like, I got the news she was in a fatal accident. It's very difficult."

According to Delaware State Police, the incident occurred around 10:40 PM on Friday as Dr. Martin was traveling westbound on Barratts Chapel Road just east of McGinnis Pond Road.  For unknown reasons, her vehicle reportedly crossed over the eastbound lanes and off the south side of the roadway where it drove along a ditch line, colliding with a telephone box and fence.  The vehicle then reportedly struck an embankment causing it to overturn on its side and come to a stop back in the roadway facing westbound in the eastbound lane.

Police say while Dr. Martin was still inside the vehicle, her daughter Taryn exited the vehicle and was attempting to ask for help from a passing vehicle that was stopped in the roadway. At the same time, a 2005 GMC Yukon operated by Richard Triola, was reportedly traveling eastbound on Barratts Chapel Road east of McGinnis Pond Road approaching the collision scene.  Police say Triola struck Dr. Martin's vehicle in the eastbound lane and pushed it eastbound into the ditch off the south side of the roadway where it rotated back right side up facing westbound.  This reportedly ejected Dr. Martin from her vehicle, and Tayrn was reportedly struck by one of the vehicles.

Police say Dr. Martin was flown from the scene by State Police Aviation to Christiana Medical Center where she was pronounced dead. Taryn Martin was reportedly initially transported to Kent General Hospital before being transferred to A. I. DuPont Hospital. An official with the hospital confirmed with 47 ABC that Tayrn died as well.

"It's very hard to take that her daughter was also killed, her only daughter," says Schelhouse. "I don't know of anything this tragic in all the years I've been on the board."

School officials say Dr. Martin has been in the district for 12 years, first starting her career as a math teacher, then an assistant principal. Schelhouse says she transferred to the Caesar Rodney School District, and then came back to Milford to be a principal at Central Academy.

"I knew when she left that her heart was in Milford and she would be back and she did," says Schelhouse. "There's not too many like her, very knowledgeable, very intelligent, just an overall good person."

"She's very fun loving, very giving, very supportive," says Dr. Kohel. "She had a great sense of humor, knew most of her kids in school by name."

The school district now faces the familiar task of finishing the rest of the school year, but this year, without Dr. Martin.

"She's the type of administrator you really need in a building. It's going to be hard to fill that spot," says Dr. Kohler. "We're going to miss her."

Dr. Kohler says a meeting was held at Milford High School Sunday night for teachers and staff to meet with the Delaware's Victim Services team. All of the schools counselors along with the team will reportedly be available tomorrow to meet with any student or staff member who needs assistance.

"Every school district has called offering to supply administrators for us, or counselors, or whatever we need," says Dr. Kohler. "We've got a great support system."

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