Last Farmingdale HS student in hospital from bus rollover has been released

Ashley Betts broke at least 16 bones, including several ribs and her jaw in the crash.

Jon Dowding

Oct 7, 2023, 12:48 AM

Updated 195 days ago


Ashley Betts finally returned home Friday after spending over two weeks in the hospital following last month’s tragic bus crash. She says her sister Natalie helped save her.
"Every kid was on like one side of the bus. I was the only one under,” said Ashley. “If she hadn't looked for me, I don't know what would've happened."
The two were sitting next to each other on the bus when the crash happened. Ashley says she doesn’t remember much from the accident.
"We started tipping and as soon as it went [turned over], I heard people screaming,” said Ashley. “I heard it first hit, then thud, and the windows, some of them broke, and then just from that, just like cut off."
Natalie says she remembers more of what happened.
"I grabbed onto her arm, screamed her name, and then I blacked out. Then I just woke up. I was outside of the bus,” said Natalie. "I just see her lying under the bus cause the ravine was like that and the bus wasn't totally against the bottom thank God."
Natalie says one of their teachers, Matthew DeMasi, came running and brought Ashley to an ambulance.
Their parents, Rob and Cathie, credit Natalie and DeMasi for saving Ashley.
"And her teacher Mr. Demasi, I don't know how to thank him,” said Rob. “Treating her and Natalie, that's why we're still a family of four."
Ashley spent 15 days in the hospital, first in Westchester and then to Cohen's Children's Medical Center.
She suffered at least 16 broken bones, including multiple spinal fractures and collapsed lungs.
Her dad says one small sign signaled to him she'd be OK.
"She was so upset to find out that they had to cut her Taylor Swift sweatshirt off,” said Rob. “She was so upset. So that was the first time we were like, 'Okay, maybe we're going to be OK.'"
For Ashley, shows of support from the community and visits from school officials kept her going.
"I never knew, especially because I'm a freshman too, I didn't know half of the high school people and like everybody has just been so sweet to me," she said.
As Ashley faces six to eight weeks of recovery at home and Natalie continues to heal from her injuries, their parents shared a simple message with the community.
"Thank you. It really makes a big difference,” said Rob. “To not just us, but to them."
Their mom Cathie, who spent every day by Ashley’s side in the hospital, also is grateful for the outpouring of support from the community.
"Thank you, it's incredible and it's so comforting," she said.
Ashley says she's grateful to her big sister.
"Knowing that she went through what I had to go through is really just comforting because I know she gets it,” said Ashley. “If I'm upset about something, then I know she'll understand."
Ashley and Natalie say they’re just ready for a return to normalcy in their lives.
If you’d like to support the family, a link to their GoFundMe can be found here.

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