Students mourn loss of teacher killed in bus rollover
Students returned to Farmingdale High School Thursday evening after a fatal bus rollover killed their band director along with another adult.
Further Coverage: Emergency officials: At least 1 dead, 5 critical in Orange County crash involving bus used by Farmingdale School District
One bus that was headed on a band trip crashed on I-84 in Orange County. That accident killed 43-year-old Gina Pellettire, from Massapequa and 77-year-old Beatrice Ferrari, from Farmingdale. Pellettire was the Farmingdale High School’s band director and Ferrari was a teacher at the school for more than 26 years.
At least five students were also left in critical condition.
Five other buses that were not involved in the crash returned home greeted by loved ones who were grateful to see them alive and OK.
News 12's Krista McNally was live outside of Farmingdale High School where concerned parents gathered to be escorted to Orange County.
They were welcomed with six candles in front of the high school in honor of the two deceased teachers and for the remaining injured students.
One of the students who returned was heartbroken over the loss of his teacher and his injured peers.
“What’s going to become of our band?” says Lucas Castillo Marquez. “It’s been such a big part of my high school career, for our director not to be here anymore, it’s never something I would expect.”
Neighbors say both Pellettire and Ferrari loved music and to inspire people at Farmingdale High School.
News 12 is told Pellettire was a loving single mother.
“She was a great mom to Joseph - she always did stuff with him, took him everywhere,” one neighbor says. “He’s been to more places than me. I’m all shaken up hearing about this, it’s just devastating.”
News 12's Carmen Grant speaks with neighbors of one of the deceased teachers.
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman released a statement, saying in part, “Our hearts go out to the Farmingdale High School family… Nassau County has mobilized all of our resources to assist during this tragedy. Please pray for the injured.”
The superintendent for the Farmingdale Union Free School District sent a letter to the community, saying, "It is difficult to express the sadness and grief that the Farmingdale School District and I feel over the tragic events that unfolded earlier and the horrific experience our students endured. We deeply mourn the passing of our inspiring faculty and Band Director, Gina Pellittiere, and the heart and soul of our marching band program, Beatrice "Bea" Ferarri.
As we had communicated earlier, one of our six buses that was transporting our marching band on its annual band camp trip to Pine Valley Camp in Greeley, Pennsylvania crashed. Passengers have been taken to Orange County Community College's Diana Physical Education Building in Middletown, NY, where they reunited with their families. The Farmingdale School District worked with the State Police and Nassau County Police Department to arrange for escorted transportation so families could get to their children as quickly as possible. We are grateful to the first responders who arrived at the scene to care for those involved in the crash.
School will be open tomorrow and we have arranged for counselors and support staff to be available for all students, faculty and staff. We understand that each of us will grieve in our own way. I shared with our students earlier and our staff a few minutes ago that the best thing we can do is to give hugs and make sure each and every person in this community has the support they need. We are here tomorrow and in the days to follow to provide that level of support. Our unconditional love and support goes out to all who are struggling.
Farmingdale's strength is in its unity, and that is needed most during times of tragedy.
At this time, we ask that the privacy of our students and their families be respected.
For anyone with questions of how to access the support services that will be available, I encourage you to please call your child's main office. Specifically, the number for Farmingdale High School main office is 516-434-5210. The events that transpired will live with each of us in the days to come. We will get through this like we get through any difficult situation, together as one Daler family."