A school bus dropping off children from Southeast School on April 29 was hit by a driver pulling out of a driveway and onto Hanks Hill Road. The 14 students onboard, including 10-year-old Anthony Tafoya pictured here, were examined by emergency personnel after the crash. Photo by Marie Brennan
State Police report that a Tolland woman is dead this morning, after the car she was driving veered off the road and struck several trees near Southeast Elementary School in Mansfield.
Sgt. Shawn Corey of the State Police Public Information Office said today [April 30] that 21-year-old Elizabeth Bilodeau was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.
The accident happened at 1:34 a.m. Bilodeau was pronounced dead at 1:51 a.m. at the scene by a Windham Community Memorial Hospital paramedic.
Her mother was notified at 6:30 a.m., Sgt. Corey said.
Bilodeau, of 44 Fox Ridge Lane in Tolland, was driving a red 2000 Volkswagen Jetta north on Route 89 when she crossed into the southbound lane and struck several trees, Sgt. Corey said.
Television news footage of the accident showed a badly mangled vehicle that ended up deep in the woods.
Corey said Bilodeau was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash and that the accident is under investigation.
Five state troopers and a sergeant from Troop C in Tolland and firefighters from Mansfield responded to the crash.
Mansfield Fire Chief David Dagon said this morning that emergency personnel extricated the victim from the vehicle.
According to her Facebook page, Bilodeau was a student at the Brio Academy of Cosmetology, which has several locations statewide, including Willimantic.
Bus hits basketball pole
Also today, parents received an email alert at 10:16 a.m. from Mansfield Middle School Principal Jeff Cryan about a school bus accident.
Cryan writes: “You may hear from your child about an unusual occurrence at school this morning.”
“After having dropped off students at the school entrance, one of the buses hit a basketball pole in the parking lot, damaging the bus and the basketball pole. There were no students in or near the bus when this happened, and the driver appears to be OK.”
“We have removed the pole and its base from the parking lot.”
Car crashes into school bus
And yesterday [April 29], a car struck a school bus on Hanks Hill Road in Mansfield.
Fortunately, none of the 14 students on the bus – which was completing its afternoon drop-off run from Southeast Elementary School – were injured in the crash, according to Mansfield Superintendent Fred Baruzzi. The accident occurred at approximately 4:50 p.m.
According to Baruzzi, a driver pulled out of a driveway on Hanks Hill Road in front of the bus.
Baruzzi said that although accidents like this are infrequent, school officials have a policy for responding to such incidents that includes a district administrator responding to the scene and all students evaluated by emergency personnel.
Emergency medical technicians examined all 14 children and they were to be evaluated by the school nurse again on Friday. The driver of the car that struck the bus also was assessed.
Mansfield Fire Chief David Dagon said an ambulance and two firefighters responded to the scene as a precaution.
Once evaluated, the children were released to their parents or guardians, or they had the option of going home by another school bus.
“The bus [in the accident] was okay,” Baruzzi said this morning. “Nothing happened to the bus.” However, following school policy, a second bus and driver were called in to complete the run.
“We always bring a second vehicle,” said Baruzzi. “We want another driver. The driver [in the accident] is certainly shaken up.”
According to Baruzzi, the students were patient during the 30-minute wait while they were evaluated.
Baruzzi said the motorist was given a ticket, however State Police could not confirm that information or provide the name of the driver this morning.
Posted April 30, 2010 as edited and contributed to by HTNP.com Editor Brenda Sullivan