Two Jay residents died Wednesday, Nov. 30 in a one-car accident on the Carey Road.
Theresa Caito, 75, and her 7-year-old grandson, Henry Caito, were in a 2007 Volvo that ended up submerged in a stream that passes underneath the Carey Road and empties into the nearby East Branch of the Ausable River. The accident happened about half a mile up the Carey Road from the Stickney Bridge Road. They were on their way to drop Henry off at school.
State police and emergency personnel began searching for the Caitos around 9:30 a.m., after Henry was reported missing from his first-grade class at the Au Sable Forks Elementary School.
"School starts at 8:05 and it was shortly after we started to inquire as to where he was," Au Sable Forks Elementary School Principal Ginene Mason said Wednesday afternoon. "At about mid-day, the school was informed the car was found."
Jay Town Supervisor Randy Douglas was on the scene of the accident and said that a family member and a school official went looking for the boy and found the car around 10 a.m. Essex County Emergency Services Director Donald Jaquish said emergency personnel were on the scene by 10:15 a.m.
“It’s very tragic to our community,” Douglas said. “It’s going to be hard for this community to recover from this loss.”
The car had flipped over and only the back wheels were showing when it was found, according to Jaquish.
Members of the Fire Department and Highway Department entered the water and attached a cable to the vehicle so it could be raised out of the water enough to free the occupants.
Theresa and Henry were both unconscious when rescusers reached the vehicle. Firefighters and town highways crews jumped into the waist-high water to get the two victims out of the car. Life-saving measures performed on the scene weren’t enough to save them.
Henry Caito was transported to AMC in Lake Placid and was pronounced deceased by P.A. Howard Glass. Theresa Caito was transported to CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh, where she was pronounced deceased by Dr. Louis Rivera. Autopsies are expected to be performed Thursday.
The car was removed from the scene by a tow truck.
The New York State Police were assisted by the Essex County Sheriff's Department, the Troop B Collision Reconstruction Unit, and area fire departments. The cause of the investigation is still under investigation.
Mason said the news of Henry's death has shocked the school faculty and staff.
"He was a very well-, well-, well-loved little boy," Mason said. "It's a hugely tragic event for our school. First and foremost our thoughts and prayers go out to Henry's family."
Asked how school officials are dealing with this event, Mason said, "We talked to faculty after school, and we have put in a plan of action. We plan to have extra counselors on staff to help students and faculty through this tragedy."
(Reporter Katherine Clark contributed to this story.)