Emotional homecoming: High school marching band student hurt in fatal bus crash returns to Farmingdale
A Farmingdale High School marching band student who was badly injured in last week's fatal bus crash returned home Saturday.
In the midst of applause, hugs and tears, Audrina Crocitto tearfully accepted cards, flowers and balloons from junior firefighters as she was taken out of an ambulance on a stretcher while wearing a neck brace.
Crocitto is a member of the fire department's junior brigade.
"To be here meant a lot to me because we're a team. Team's got to be there for each other," said Michael Cox.
"It's a brother and a sisterhood and it's just good that she can be home with her family," said Farmingdale Fire Department Chief Michael Tortoso.
After more than a week in the hospital, Crocitto received a heartwarming welcome from members of the Farmingdale and South Farmingdale fire departments.
"It's good that she can have normalcy again and whatever else she, her and her family needs, we'll be there for her," Tortoso said.
As News 12 reported, a bus with Farmingdale High School band students and chaperones was on its way to a band camp when it crashed last Thursday on I-84 in Orange County. The bus rolled 50 feet down an embankment.
Band director Gina Pellettiere, 43, of Massapequa, and chaperone Beatrice Ferrari, 77, of Farmingdale, died in the crash.
MORE: Farmingdale H.S. mourns loss of 2 members of school community following bus crash in Orange County
Many students were also injured, some critically.
According to a fundraiser on fundthefirst.com, Crocitto suffered multiple fractures to her neck and spine.
Firefighters said it was important for them to be at Crocitto's homecoming and let her know she has the full support of the firefighting community.
"If we can bring a smile to her face, her family's face, we did our job," Tortoso said.
"This past week really, it's been a difficult time... I know we're going to persevere because we always do," Cox said.