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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “‘Always cheerful, always kind and too soon gone’: Young crash victim was popular with students and t”


    Even in the scary time before her death Saturday, 12-year-old Amari Clark minded her manners, her grandmother told her principal.

    Most of the right side of her body had been broken in a head-on collision Friday evening in Fairview Heights. As doctors casted her leg and prepared her for surgery, she responded with, “”Thank you, sir,”” “”Yes, Sir,”” and “”No, Sir,”” said Ron Trelow, principal at Whiteside Middle School in Belleville.

    “”That’s just the kind of lady she was,”” he said.

    Amari died early Saturday in surgery at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis because of bleeding complications from the accident, Trelow said.

    Police have in custody a 20-year-old Collinsville man who they say crossed the center line Friday night on Illinois 159 in a 1996 Jeep Cherokee near Stonewolf Trail.

    Police said he struck the 2002 Ford Taurus driven by Amari’s mother, 28-year-old Apryl Sherrod, of Fairview Heights. Sherrod was taken to St. Louis University Hospital with extensive injuries, but hospital staff said Sunday that she had been released.

    The suspect was treated at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis for injuries to his head, face and arms. Police think drugs may have been a factor in the accident, and they plan to seek aggravated driving under the influence and homicide-related charges against the Collinsville man today. They won’t release his name until he has been charged.

    “”I was crushed last night,”” Trelow said Sunday of learning about the accident. He called several teachers at home to let them know. He said he’ll have a “”building full of social workers”” at school today to help the students and teachers; Amari was equally popular with both of those groups.

    Amari was special to Trelow; he knew her mother as a student at Belleville East High School when he was assistant principal there, so he had watched the little girl grow up.

    He described her as “”tremendously happy”” and a “”model student.””

    “”Always cheerful, always kind and too soon gone,”” Trelow wrote in an email. “”Amari worked hard to please every adult she came into contact with. She never wanted to give anyone a reason to be disappointed in her. I would love to have a building full of Amaris.””

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