Tragedy struck on Thursday afternoon in New York state when a bus carrying students to band camp rolled over on Interstate 84 in Wawayanda. Preliminary findings suggest that a faulty front tire may have contributed to the crash.
The accident resulted in the loss of two lives: Gina Pellettiere, 43, of Massapequa, and Beatrice Ferrari, 77, of Farmingdale. Five students were in critical condition following the crash, and over 40 others sustained injuries.
The bus was transporting 40 students and four adults from Long Island’s Farmingdale School District. New York Governor Kathy Hochul expressed condolences and said, “We have families, we have a school, a school district, a county, and indeed an entire state that is grieving at this time.”
The tragic incident occurred around 1:15 p.m. on Interstate 84 in Wawayanda, approximately 75 miles northwest of New York City. Governor Hochul mentioned that a faulty front tire might have been a contributing factor, although these findings are preliminary. The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the accident in coordination with the New York State Police.
The Farmingdale students and chaperones were on their way to band camp in Pennsylvania when the accident occurred. Gina Pellettiere served as the band director, and Beatrice Ferrari was a chaperone known as “the heart and soul of our marching band program,” according to the Farmingdale School District.
Beatrice Ferrari, a teacher for 36 years, with 32 of those years spent at Farmingdale High School, held a special place in the hearts of students. She was a beloved figure known as “Grandma Bea” due to her warm and approachable nature.
Edward Hoschler, a parent of a Farmingdale High School junior, expressed the emotional rollercoaster of not knowing whether his daughter was on the bus that crashed. He described the relief he felt upon discovering that his daughter was unharmed and emphasized the importance of cherishing life’s precious moments.
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman offered support and urged parents to hold their children close, emphasizing the fragility of life. The Farmingdale School District announced that school would be open on Friday, with counselors available to support the community during this difficult time.