MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. (PIX11) – A blown front tire may have caused a bus carrying students from Long Island to careen off I-84 into an embankment, killing two adults and injuring 42 people Thursday, state police said.
The charter bus carrying students and faculty from Farmingdale High School lost control just outside of Middletown in Orange County at 1:12 p.m. Five students were taken to the hospital in critical condition following the crash, officials said.
The high school’s band director, Gina Pellettiere, 43, of Massapequa, and a retired teacher Beatrice Ferrari, 77, of Farmingdale, were identified as the two people who died in the crash.
Pellettiere has been with the school for more than 13 years. She leaves behind a 2-year-old child.
Anthony Eugenio, a 15-year-old student and passenger on the bus, recalled the harrowing tragedy.
“I heard the bus start to roll over the hill, and I heard people screaming and then I kind of felt it,” Eugenio said. “So I thought it was a dream until I felt a pain in my leg.”
Eugenio said he had to jump out the window of the bus.
“I saw blood everywhere,” he said.
The bus was part of a caravan of six buses headed to Greenly, Pennsylvania for a band camp.
The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to arrive Friday morning to investigate the crash. Grief counselors will be at the high school for students and staff Friday.