Rome (WSYR-TV) -- The death of a teenager has caused quite a stir among parents in Oneida County.
Police say slushy roads may have played a role in the crash that killed 16-year-old Anusha Yagey while on his way to school Tuesday. Some are now questioning the school district’s snow day policy.
Joe Yagey remembers driving toward school. He does not remember the crash that took the life of his passenger -- his little brother.
“I woke up with my arm around him,” Joe told NewsChannel 9. “Obviously I am going to blame myself for it. I wish I could have saved him a little better. I wish I could have done something. I mean I feel like I could have done more. But, it is too late now."
Anusha's death sparked an outcry in the district, with many wondering why school hadn't been delayed or canceled. Holland Patent High School teacher Phil Lucason spoke out as a father, who decided not to put his two girls on the bus that morning.
"Bus drivers were having a hard time making it up the road. They were fish-tailing. I talked with bus drivers later and they said that most of them had close calls, going off the road, being afraid to go up hills, down hills. It was awful,” Lucason told NewsChannel 9.
"All the other schools in the area, once they all closed, we should have taken that into consideration and just looking outside you could see how bad the conditions were,” Holland Patent senior Noah Roberts said.
In a statement, the school district's Superintendent, Kathy Davis, explained that eleven surrounding schools in the area did stay open that day.
"We followed our same time tested procedures that we have followed over the past 30 years," Davis said.
Standing in the center of the debate, Joey stays focused on memories of a prankster brother, who joined the family at the age of seven, when he was adopted from Thailand.
"Knocking on my door and running away, he loved to do that. I would always catch him. One time he even saran-wrapped my door. So, when I walked out to go chase him, I ran through it. I shouldn't have taught him that," Joey Yagey remembered.
An obituary describes Anusha Yagey as a high honor roll student and a natural athlete, whose favorite subject was laughing.
The superintendent insisted she also feels the loss, "My heart is heavy with grief. This tragedy has affected me in many ways. Anusha was a wonderful child who I had the great opportunity to work with over the years to ensure his transition to our country and the school district," Davis wrote. "On a personal note, this is a loss that will always be in my heart and mind."
With emotions running high, some parents are calling for an investigation of Davis and her snow day protocol.
"We lost a young man, who had the whole world ahead of him, because a bad decision was made, clearly bad decision, Lucason said.
The surviving brother is saddened by the controversy surrounding Anusha's death. He believes it was an accident.
"You know, I’m not going to say that it’s her fault that my little brother is dead,” Joey said. "We should have had an hour delay. I would have liked one. But, for all we know, he could have died some other way and maybe it was just his time to go."Anusha’s funeral is set for Monday.