GoFundMe Raises More Than $44,000 For Two Girls Struck By Vehicle In Binghamton, While A Second Campaign Is Suspected To Be "Fake"Posted: Updated:
Comments from friends, family, and community members flood the GoFundMe account set up for the families of Harper Stantz and Britney Laserinko after the two teens were struck by a vehicle while walking on the sidewalk on Binghamton's west side. More than $44,000 has been raised as of 1pm on Wednesday. Along with their donations, community members are leaving comments offering sympathy and prayers for the families.
On a second GoFundMe page it's a different story. Shortly after the page was created on Wednesday morning, comments appeared calling the crowdfunding campaign "fake" and a "scam."
At 11:25am, the Broome County District Attorney Office confirmed they were investigating the page. Around 1pm, comments were deleted and disabled on the page, and by 3pm it was gone from the internet. Below is a screengrab of some of those comments calling out the page as illegitiment.
Friends of the families have been commenting on social media saying the real fund set up for the victims is the original one that went up the day of the crash, March 11th, and shows a picture of both girls.
Andy Kipp, owner of the Old Union Hotel and founder of First Ward Charities Inc., took to his business's Facebook page to caution the public about donating to that suspected "fake" page. Kipp tells Fox 40 he wanted to make sure the families were getting the money the community intends for them, so he used his registered nonprofit to start his own fund.
"Since we have a certified, registered charity we are the safest option and all the donations we collect will go to the families as opposed to GoFundMe, which takes a pretty sizable percentage for themselves," says Kipp.
According to the original GoFundMe page, the girls were walking home after playing tennis together at Rec Park when they were struck by a vehicle.
Police arrested Kevin L Wilcox, a 33-year-old from Harpursville, who they say was driving the red jeep when it left the road and hit the girls on the sidewalk, plowing through front yards on Beethoven Street. Wilcox was charged with vehicular assault and driving while impaired. According to court documents, both girls suffered internal injuries and multiple broken bones and were immediately transported to Wilson Hospital.