A childhood friend of the woman killed Sunday afternoon on Route 57 has launched a fundraiser to help her family pay their medical expenses and funeral costs.
Michelle Crews of Syracuse said she knew Meaghan Patterson as a young girl growing up in the Jordan-Elbridge school district, but they lost touch as they grew older.
“I was a childhood friend of hers, but I hadn’t seen her in years,” Crews said. “We reconnected over Facebook over our mutual love of the Dave Matthews Band and those beautiful pictures she was always posting of her beautiful family.”
Crews was devastated to learn that Patterson was killed in a car accident Sunday, Nov. 25, when a car in the northbound lane of Route 57 crossed into the southbound lane between Bayberry Plaza and Wetzel Road, sideswiped an SUV and hit Patterson’s car head-on. Patterson, who was in the front seat of her car, was thrown into the windshield. She was pronounced dead at the hospital. Patterson’s family members were all in the car with her; husband Lance Patterson, 35, daughters Olivia Patterson, 10, Sophia Patterson, 2, and son Justin Root, 14, all remain hospitalized with serious injuries.
The driver of the other car, Muhammad Baqir, 42, of Grosvenor Road, has been charged with vehicular manslaughter, driving while under the influence of drugs and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. Sheriff’s deputies say he used heroin before the accident. He is being held at the Onondaga County Justice Center without bail.
Crews said when she heard of her old friend’s death, she was devastated.
“When it happened, first, I just cried,” she said. “But then I started thinking I needed to do something to help her family with the medical bills and the funeral. So I started the fundraising page [Monday] afternoon to help.”
Crews had originally started the fundraising page for her own Facebook friends and family, but when they shared the link and donations started pouring in, she felt she had to share it more widely.
“I wanted to wait to get the okay from the family, but so many people want to help, and I thought it might be best to publicize it while [the accident] was still fresh in people’s minds,” she said. “In just a couple of hours, I’m already up to almost $2,000.”
Crews did want to emphasize that she is acting independently of Patterson’s family.
“I am not representing the family at this time,” she said. “I inboxed them through Facebook and I told them how awkward I feel, but I just want to help. I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes.”
Crews said she knows the family has more important things to worry about right now, so she’s happy to provide what little help she can from the sidelines.
“They’re all grieving and at the hospital and trying to heal,” she said. “I’m grieving for Meagan, too, but I have the energy and I have the time and I can help.”
To donate, visit youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/please-help-the-patterson-family-after-the-recent-tragedy/110565.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.