Popular Clarence Student Dies In Accident

March 8, 2011 Updated Mar 9, 2011 at 9:25 AM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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March 8, 2011 Updated Mar 9, 2011 at 9:25 AM EDT

(Clarence, N.Y.) People in Clarence are stunned by the death of 15-year old Erin Bigler.

The teenager was a passenger in her parent's 2007 Buick LaCrosse when a massive tree limb came smashing down on the rear seat area.

Erin Bigler was critically injured in the freak accident and was transferred to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo.

The accident happened around 4:30pm on Saturday March 5, 2011.

As news of her death spreads throughout the community, residents say they can't believe that it was just a matter of seconds, even miles per hour, that made the difference between life and death.

According to police, the Biglers were traveling southbound on Goodrich Road just past Sesh Road.

When they passed under a large tree with several over-hanging branches, a huge 25-foot long limb snapped free and fell 20 feet - crushing the Bigler's car roof.

Police reports say the branch hit the car with such force that the rear roof was pushed down to the rear seat.

Erin Bigler was underneath it.

The teenager was a popular freshman at Clarence High School. She was part of the indoor track team and was looking forward to spring track tryouts - which were held on Tuesday.

Erin Bigler was also a member of the school's Peer Group Connection Program.

Clarence High School Principal Kenneth Smith says Bigler's death is bringing tremendous sadness to the school community.

"I don't think there is any greater sadness that a school community can face then the death of one of its students."

The high school principal adds, "Erin had a contagious smile. She was a nice young lady. Happy, fun loving, and positive."

Erin Bigler's parents suffered minor injuries when the tree limb fell on their car.