Farmingdale community prepares to say goodbye to beloved teachers killed in bus crash

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Monday, September 25, 2023
Community prepares to say goodbye to beloved teachers killed in crash
A community is saying its final goodbyes this week for the two victims of a deadly bus crash in Orange County. Tom Negovan has more.

FARMINGDALE, Long Island (WABC) -- A community on Long Island is preparing to say goodbye to the two people killed in a bus crash in Orange County last week.

The bus carrying the Farmingdale High School marching band to a camp in Pennsylvania crashed on Thursday, killing two adults and injuring several students.

On Monday, a wake was held for 77-year-old retired teacher Beatrice Ferrari. Visitation for band director Gina Pellettiere, 43, is set for Tuesday.

At times on Monday, the line ran down the street as scores turned out to pay their respects to Ferrari, the matriarch of Farmingdale's school band program.

"There are no words to be said, she was absolutely wonderful- wonderful, wonderful human being, and loved by everyone," said family friend Carol Leckawicz.

Ferrari retired after 30 years as a history teacher and was a volunteer chaperone with the band program. She loved going on the trips and working with the kids.

Over the weekend, Eyewitness News learned some of the students hurt in the crash are improving and the school superintendent said everyone will physically recover.

"I know that they appreciate all the well wishes you are sending and we can't wait to welcome them back when they are ready to return," Superintendent Paul Defendini said.

The deadly crash is renewing calls for crash gates to be installed along Interstate 84 in Orange County.

Firefighters and New York State officials asked the New York Department of Transportation to provide funding for the crash gates on Monday.

They want them placed in between the existing exit ramps.

Officials say crash gates will give first responders emergency access to crash scenes, making it quicker to give lifesaving medical care to crash victims.

"It's impossible for me to determine how the outcome of last week's horrific accident would have changed by having this entrance... but I can confidently say that each and every minute is crucial," said Slate Hill Fire Department Chief Michael Dally.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Thursday that tire failure may have been to blame, but the NTSB said it was premature to speculate.

ALSO READ | Farmingdale superintendent says students injured in bus crash expected to recover

A bus carrying Farmingdale High School students rolled down an embankment on I-84 in Wawayanda, Orange County on Thursday. Derick Waller has the latest.


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