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January 23, 2010

Communities face grief over loss of Mattice

By Mark Boshnack

Staff Writer

State police at Sidney announced Friday the funeral arrangements for Trooper Jill E. Mattice of Oneonta. The mourning process continues on a local and state level.

The 31-year old trooper, assigned to the Oneonta barracks, died at about 2:50 p.m. Wednesday, troopers said.

She was driving her patrol car east on state Route 23 when her vehicle drifted into the westbound lane and sideswiped an oncoming tractor-trailer about two miles from the village of Morris, troopers said. The investigation into the accident is continuing, as troopers said the reason Mattice's vehicle left its lane is still unknown.

Mattice grew up in Cheektowaga, where her parents and brother still live.

A wake is set for 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday and 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at Amigone Funeral Home at 2600 Sheridan Drive in Tonawanda, according to the release.

The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church at 8445 Greiner Road in Williamsville. Interment will follow at White Chapel Memorial Park at 3210 Niagara Falls Blvd. in Amherst, according to the release.

The 61/2-year state police veteran was returning to the barracks after a shift as school resource office at Unadilla Valley Central School when the accident occurred, troopers said. She divided her time between that district and Franklin Central School.

At Franklin, the school hadn't finished mourning 2006 graduate Marine Cpl. Nick Uzenski, who recently died in combat in Afghanistan, when the news came about Mattice, ,school officials had said.

Extra counselors were on duty on Thursday and staff was still providing support Friday, Superintendent Gordon Daniels said.

"Thursday was pretty rough," he said.

Along with special "care rooms" set up for students and teachers, guidance counselors came from Delhi and Walton Central schools and DCMO BOCES to help school personnel provide comfort.

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