High school band director one of two victims killed in Farmingdale bus crash

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, September 22, 2023
High school band director one of two victims killed in bus crash
Two adults were killed in a deadly bus crash off of I-84 in Orange County, New York Thursday. CeFaan Kim has more on the victims killed in the devastating crash.

ORANGE COUNTY, New York (WABC) -- Two people were killed and dozens were injured after a bus en route to band camp overturned on I-84 in Orange County on Thursday afternoon.

The bus was carrying students from Farmingdale High School in Nassau County to band camp in Pennsylvania when it careened off the highway and down an embankment.

On Friday afternoon, 16 students and two adults still remained in the hospital.

The victims were identified by authorities as Beatrice Ferarri, 77, of Farmingdale, and Gina Pellettiere, 43, of Massapequa.

Ferrari was a retired social studies teacher.

Pellettiere was the Marching Band and Wind Ensemble Director at Farmingdale High School. Her students called her Ms. P.

Parents of students say when they told Pellettiere she had a great job, she would say, "I have the best job. What's better than teaching kids my passion?"

Pellettiere was not only a passionate teacher, but she was also a single mother of a 2-year-old.

Susan Perna's son and daughter were in Pellettiere's class. Perna says her son cried when he learned Pellettiere was killed in the accident.

"She's one of the reasons that I come to school and get to places 15 minutes before time," said Perna's son. "She was an inspiration to me. She was always happy, always positive, always passionate."

Pellettiere left a lasting impression on many people in her life, including her friend, Rose Walker.

"(She) had a love for instruments for music since she was little. Just had a smile that could melt your heart," said Walker.

In addition to the two adults killed, five students were critically injured in the accident. In total, 40 students and four adults were on board at the time of the crash.

Many of the 40 students on the bus were freshmen, Hochul said. "They endured. They were strong," she said.

Farmingdale student Anthony Eugenio, 15, was asleep on the bus when he felt a thud and awoke to what he thought was a dream or nightmare. The bus felt as if it was tipping. Then he felt himself tumbling - how many times he can't recall - as he tried to pull his sweatshirt hood from over his eyes.

"Then everyone was yelling," he said. "The kid next to me was covered in blood. I saw blood everywhere."

He crawled out of the overturned bus through a window, dazed but only scraped and bruised. Once outside, he found his backpack, which had been thrown from the wreck, and his missing shoe.

Victims were transported to six different area hospitals for treatment.

Preliminary information indicates a failure of a front tire may have been a contributing factor in the accident.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ALSO READ | What we know about bus involved in deadly Orange County crash


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