‘She was a ray of sunshine’: Co-workers remember woman killed in Hamburg crash

LAKE VIEW, N.Y. (WIVB) — The family and friends of Jenny Zuhlke, the woman killed in a crash on Wednesday in Lake View, call her a ray of sunshine who lit up every room she walked into.

She worked at Lakeview Children’s World for 10 years, caring for the infants there. The accident occurred at approximately 11:30 a.m. Wednesday on Route 5 at Lakeview Road, according to Hamburg police. Her co-workers say she was on her way to work and was less than one mile from the daycare when the crash happened.

Woman killed in serious motor vehicle accident

“Devastating. Devastating. Truly was a shock. She was on her way to work, so of course I feel guilty in some way,” Sandy Smith, owner of Lakeview Children’s World, said.

Zuhlke, 37, was killed as a result of the crash and the driver of the vehicle, 40-year-old Andrew Rydzewski, was transported to ECMC with serious injuries.

She is remembered as a fun person known to sing and dance around the daycare.

“Once we got to know each other, you instantly fall in love with her. She’s just the sweetest thing in the world. She’s funny, always happy and bubbly,” Casandra Larson, preschool teacher at Lakeview Children’s World, said.

The staff at the daycare say they are sad other children won’t be able to grow up with Jenny cheering them on.

“It just breaks my heart for these little ones who loved her dearly and trusted her because that’s what it takes in the infant room,” Smith said. “One parent said to me we didn’t know Jenny but we loved her because she loved our children.”

Zuhlke’s niece, Camryn, spoke with News 4 today saying her aunt was a positive and caring person. Camryn remembers Jenny as her role model and big sister.

Larson said the daycare was Zuhlke’s family, as she did not have any children herself.

“This was her family. She always said that she loved the babies but that she didn’t care to have any herself. She came here to take care of the babies because she absolutely adores kids,” Larson added.

The daycare is asking the parents to tell the children if they choose. Now, Jenny’s co-workers are trying to move forward.

“We need to be here together, we need to talk about it, we need to work through it and move on together the best we can,” Smith said.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking people to donate to Hamburg Mutts for Freedom on Jenny’s behalf because she was an avid animal lover.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. Anyone who may have witnessed the accident is asked to call 716-648-5111.

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Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native and Emmy-nominated reporter who joined the News 4 team in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.

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