Community rallies for father and son killed in Pontiac Trail crash

Students at Kent Lake Elementary in South Lyon are wearing white - so is everybody else.

It's all a strong show of support for their classmates - the Montanez children and their parents.

Last week Pedro Montanez, 36, and his 9-year-old son Steven were killed in a crash on Pontiac Trail. Two other children, Michael, 10, and Valencia, 6, survived but were hospitalized in critical condition.

"(We want them to know) everybody's here for you to support you and you should all know that we really care for you," said Julia Duncan, a student at Kent Lake Elementary. 

Last week Montanez was driving his three children to school when he hit either black ice or a pothole on Pontiac Trail. His vehicle crossed the center line and was hit by a truck.

Everybody at the school - was devastated at the news.

"Students made cards and letters," said Kim Dancer, the school's principal. "Not only to Steven, to Valencia and Michael. But to mom and Mr. Montanez as well. They shared stories.

"Some of those stories were so heart-warming and genuine, the cards  ... some brought tears to my eyes."

Since the accident, two separate funds for the family have raised nearly $30,000 and on Friday almost everyone in the entire school district wore white - and made a donation.

"We wanted to show the family with everything they are going through in this horrible ordeal, that they have the community behind them," said Rachel Azure, a student at South Lyon East High School.

Friday's event was the brainchild of Azure, the junior class president at South Lyon East, where they raised $3,500. She decided on Monday this could be a great fundraiser for the family - her principal agreed and soon, it was district-wide.

"It's a really good day across the community,: said Dave Phillips, the South Lyon East principal. "It was pretty amazing to activate that many schools and that many buildings."

As for the surviving children, their principal says Valencia is out of the hospital - and Michael gets a little better every day.

They hope this family knows how much support they have from this community.

A number of fundraisers are scheduled for the Montanez family.

One will be Feb. 3 from 3 to 9 p.m. at Leo's Coney Island in New Hudson. Servers will donate all of their tips and Leo's will donate 20% of all sales at that time.

The funds raised will be deposited into the account that was set up by the Kent Lake PTO at First Merit. Contact Leo's at 248-446-1008 with questions.

Another event is planned for Bakers of Milford, which is hosting a spaghetti dinner from 4 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 5 for the family. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Tickets will be available at the door.

Raffle baskets and a silent auction will also be held.

For those that can't attend either event, A GoFundMe account has been set up HERE.
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