Witness: Car was driving 'erratically' hours before troopers pulled it out of Tully body of water

TULLY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - State Police have confirmed the identities of two women and a young child whose bodies were pulled from a pond in Tully on Tuesday.

Police were looking for 34-year-old Jamie Bell, 26-year-old Melissa Avery, and 5-year-old Maryssa Houston when they discovered the vehicle submerged in the water off of Gatehouse Road on Tuesday afternoon.

According to a witness, whose tip was able to help State Police locate the missing people so quickly, the car was driving erratically on Gatehouse Road.

State Police say the vehicle appeared to have struck a guardrail before rolling into the pond and landing upright.

A large presence of State Police was on hand on Gatehouse Road late in the day on Tuesday.

The roadway was closed for several hours during the investigation.

An autopsy is scheduled for today to determine the cause of death.

State Police say they are still investigating the incident.

The LaFayette School District issued the following statement:

Members of the LaFayette Central School District community are grieving the loss of a LaFayette parent and two family members who were known and loved by students and staff members. On June 13, Jamie Bell, 34, died as the result of an automobile accident. The accident also claimed the lives of Jamie’s relatives, Melissa Avery, 26 and Maryssa F. Houston, 5, who were also LaFayette residents. LaFayette CSD provided transportation to Maryssa who attended school at Syracuse Academy of Science. The district’s crisis team is in place to work with students and staff members to help them deal with their grief.  Counselors are at Big Picture for those who want their support. Staff and parents/guardians are also invited to contact school counselors for advice on how to handle grief or other concerns that their students and children might be experiencing. A candlelight vigil being organized by the victims’ family members is scheduled for 7 p.m. on June 15 at the corner of Route 80 and Gatehouse Road, according to a Facebook post written by Melissa’s mother. Our deepest condolences go to all who mourn.


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