Lee woman and son, 3, killed in New York crash

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A Lee woman and her 3-year-old son were killed in a car crash Saturday afternoon when a truck lost control and crashed into their car on an icy highway in Westchester County in New York.

Kerry Hamill was traveling with her wife, Lauren Pellegrino, both 40, and their son, Grayson, when they were hit by a box truck on Interstate 684 in Bedford, according to a statement from New York State Police.

Hamill, who was driving, and the boy were killed. Pellegrino was taken to Westchester Medical Center with minor injuries, according to the statement. The car was stopped at the time, and the crash created a chain reaction involving four other cars, whose occupants also were hospitalized with minor injuries.

The driver of the truck, Henry Valencia, 59, was not injured, police said. He has not been charged.

Hamill has worked at Bard College at Simon's Rock for over three years, according to the school's spokeswoman, Kimberly Rock. For the first three years, she was a service desk manager at the Kilpatrick Athletic Center, but she recently started working as assistant registrar and academic affairs associate in the Office of Academic Affairs.

"Obviously, faculty and staff are really devastated by the loss. We had a gathering on the campus," Rock said. "She was a treasured member of the community."

Pellegrino is the director of recreational services at Berkshire Community College, according to Christina Wynn, the school's spokeswoman.

In an email to staff, college President Ellen Kennedy said the family was traveling to visit Hamill's family on Long Island for a New Year's celebration.

"Kerry and Grayson were known well to many of us, especially to our athletes and those who attended the games and saw them supporting Lauren and the BCC teams at innumerable events," Kennedy wrote. "Indeed, Grayson started coming to games as a baby, and we got to watch him grow over his far-too-short life."

In the nearly five years that Pellegrino has been working at the college, she has revived the sports programs, including basketball, which she had played in college, Wynn said.

Hamill and Grayson would attend BCC sports games, especially basketball and soccer, and other events that Pellegrino was involved in at the college, Kennedy told The Eagle.

"He would often be there with Kerry and with Lauren. We've all known him since birth," she said of Grayson, describing the community at the college as "the closest you can get to a family."

Wynn said Pellegrino, whose office is in the Paterson Field House, is intelligent, high-energy and dedicated, to her roles at the college and to her family.

"Their love for one another was really obvious," Wynn said about the couple and their son.

Grayson, who attended sports events at the college with his parents, shared Pellegrino's energy — and hair color, Wynn said.

"He had the most beautiful, curly blond hair of any little boy I've ever seen," she said.

Pellegrino regularly interacts with students at sports events, and through health and wellness programs she organizes at the college, Wynn said.

On Tuesday, college administration was considering bringing grief counselors onto the campus for students and staff, Wynn said.

"We all just really want to be there for Lauren and their families," Wynn said.

Pellegrino, who had been hospitalized since Saturday, was expected to be released Tuesday, Wynn said. It was unclear whether that had happened as of 5:30 p.m.

Haven Orecchio-Egresitz can be reached at horecchio@berkshireeagle.com, @HavenEagle on Twitter and 413-770-6977.

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