Toddler dies at Cedar Grove Elementary after being left in car

By NEWS HERALD STAFF | Twitter: @The_News_Herald
Published: Tuesday, June 2, 2015 at 06:14 PM.

HILAND PARK — A toddler left inside a car died on Tuesday at Cedar Grove Elementary, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office reported.

Reagan Buckley was pronounced dead on the scene after EMS and police responded to a life-threatening medical call at 3:15 p.m. at the school, police reported. The 18-month-old’s mother, Jamie Buckley, is a teacher at Cedar Grove and police reported she forgot the toddler was inside the vehicle after she arrived for work between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.

When Jamie Buckley left for the day she found Reagan Buckley still in her car seat, BCSO reported. BCSO deputies responded to the call and found Reagan Buckley unresponsive.

Bay District School Superintendent Bill Husfelt said Cedar Grove will be open on Wednesday. He said extra counselors will be available.

School grieves: Investigation continues after 18­month­old’s death

By COLLIN BREAUX | News Herald Writer | Twitter: @PCNHCollinB
Published: Wednesday, June 3, 2015 at 20:08 PM.

HILAND PARK — Cedar Grove Elementary
officials wiped away tears Wednesday as they
recalled the death of a toddler found dead a
day earlier in a heated vehicle at the school.

The 18­month­old toddler, Reagan Buckley,
was pronounced dead at the school Tuesday
afternoon. Authorities said her mother, Jamie
Buckley, left her in the car in the school parking
lot while she was teaching classes.

No charges have been filed in the case, but the
Bay County Sheriff Office investigation
continued Wednesday. The State Attorney’s

Office is not currently involved in the case and will not be so until BCSO completes
its investigation and turns over the case to the state attorney, spokesman David
Angier said.

Christy Williamson, a literacy coach at Cedar Grove, knew Jamie Buckley and said
the mother is the educator every parent wants their child to have, someone who
finds the good in her peers and students.

“It’s somber,” Williamson said. “Teachers are grieving. They’re hurting. They’re
hurting for Ms. Buckley. She’s an outstanding educator.”

Williamson said the Buckley family worked on mowing grass and sprucing up the
campus during a recent cleanup day at the school, and Jamie Buckley bragged on
her children every day.

“I’m proud to say I know her,” Williamson said.

Deputies reported Jamie Buckley arrived for work between 7 and 7:30 a.m. Tuesday
and forgot her daughter was in the vehicle. When Jamie Buckley left school for the
day, she found the child still in her car seat, BCSO reported.

Deputies found the child unresponsive when they arrived. Cedar Grove Principal
Phillip Campbell said there were no witness reports given to the school about the
child being in the car beforehand.

Account set up: Friends of the Buckley family set up a GoFundMe account, where
financial donations can be made during their grieving.

“The Buckley family has suffered an unimaginable loss,” the account description
says. “Prayers and financial support are needed to continue providing for them
during this difficult time.”

Campbell spoke Wednesday about the mood and fallout at the school.

“We’ve experienced a tragic accident,” Campbell said. “We’ve had an outpouring of
outside support, of prayers, from the community. We continue to be a very strong
family here at Cedar Grove and that will help us get through this.”

Counselors, school district staff members and Superintendent Bill Husfelt were at
the school Wednesday for support, Campbell said, along with extra law
enforcement. Counseling staff talked to students individually, with services available
through the end of the school year.

Kay Daniel, a social worker with the school district, was part of a team of the grief
counselors. The team talked to students, teachers and staff, and part of the grief
counseling for young students was letting children lead the conversation, Daniel

Campbell said the school was keeping operations “as normal as possible,” with a
planned awards ceremony still occurring. Parents were informed that events like a
fifth­grade graduation and year­end celebrations still would happen, as well,
Campbell said.

“You want to keep as much normalcy and you want to get back to normalcy as fast
as you can,” Campbell said. “That’s the best thing you can do in these situations.

Stay busy. Stay focused. Remind them that life goes on.”

Tuesday’s death marks the third time this year a child in the U.S. has died after
being left in a vehicle, and all the cases occurred in Florida. According to, the average number of similar deaths each year is 38, or about one
every nine days. Since 1991, more than 700 children have died after being left in hot
vehicles. The high temperature at Tyndall Air Force Base on Tuesday was 82
degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

“The atmosphere and the windows of a car are relatively ‘transparent’ to the sun’s
shortwave radiation and are warmed little,” said on how vehicle
heating works. “However, this shortwave energy does heat objects that it strikes. For
example, a dark dashboard, steering wheel or seat temperatures often are in the
range of 180 to over 200 degrees.”

Some safety tips from include never leaving your child alone in or
around cars, keeping the vehicle locked at all times, making sure all children have
left a vehicle after parking and using drive­through services when available.

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