North Star officials provided grief counseling to first-graders at Central Elementary School on Thursday, a day after a classmate was killed in a two-vehicle crash.

Nicole Dupre, 6, of Boswell died from a severe head injury at Memorial Medical Center about four hours after the wreck, Cambria County Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski said.

Nicole was sitting in the back seat of her mother’s car but was not restrained, officers said. Kwiatkowski said he was not aware whether or not Nicole was in a booster seat.

By state law, children younger than 8 years old or less than 80 pounds are required to be secured in a booster.

“She didn’t have a buckle on,” Kwiatkowski said.

Authorities said they are uncertain whether having a seat belt would have saved Nicole, but they think the impact was so severe it probably would not have mattered.

They added that the driver – the girl’s mother, Toni Dupre – was trying to get Nicole to put her seat belt on when the crash happened.

State police said Dupre, 36, of Boswell, drove the car through the intersection of Routes 30 and 4025 in Jenner Township into the path of a pickup truck around 5 p.m.

The pickup driver, Gerald Carpenter Jr., 44, of Friedens, sustained minor injuries, trooper Todd Sherle said.

Mrs. Dupre sustained severe injuries and was being treated in the intensive care unit at Memorial Medical Center on Thursday, state police said.

Another passenger in the car, Jacues Dupre, 7, suffered moderate injuries and was transported to Memorial.

“Anytime you deal with something like this, naturally it’s a tough case to see the family ripped apart,” Kwiatkowski said.

Nicole moved to North Star around the start of the school year, Schools Superintendent Dennis Lehman said. She was a student in Metta Darr’s first-grade class.

Lehman said Principal Dawn Maluchnick spoke with the children Thursday, and a school psychologist and guidance counselor were available for counseling.

Comprehending death can be difficult at that age, Lehman said.

“The younger they are, the harder it is,” he said. “Kids, I believe at that age, find it harder to understand what death is all about, especially when it’s one of their classmates.”

State police were assisted at the scene by the Boswell and Jennerstown fire departments and ambulances, Somerset EMS and Conemaugh’s MedStar helicopter.

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