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Woman dies after being struck by school van in Amherst

  • Amherst first responders and Massachusetts State Police responded to a crash involving an Amherst school bus van and a pedestrian in the 200 block of West Street, near the entry road to Crocker Farm Elementary School, late Wednesday morning. Neighbors on the scene, who did not witness the accident, said they recognized the blue cart as belonging to an elderly woman who walks on the West Street sidewalk each day. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Amherst first responders and Massachusetts State Police respond to a crash involving an Amherst school bus van and a pedestrian in the 200 block of West Street, near the entry road to Crocker Farm Elementary School, late Wednesday morning. Neighbors on the scene, who did not witness the accident, said they recognize the blue cart, at left, as belonging to an elderly woman who walks on the West Street sidewalk each day. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Police continue the investigation of a fatal pedestrian accident at the entrance of Crocker Farm Elementary School in Amherst at about 2 p.m. Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Police continue the investigation of a fatal pedestrian accident at the entrance of Crocker Farm Elementary School in Amherst, at about 2 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 that occurred at about 11 a.m. The school bus struck and killed a woman who lives in the neighborhood. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Police continue the investigation of a fatal pedestrian accident at the entrance of Crocker Farm Elementary School in Amherst, at about 2 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 that occurred at about 11 a.m. The school bus struck and killed a woman who lives in the neighborhood. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS



Staff Writer
Thursday, September 12, 2019

AMHERST — A school bus van exiting Crocker Farm Elementary School struck and killed a female pedestrian Wednesday at approximately 11 a.m., according to the Northwestern district attorney’s office.

No Crocker Farm students were hurt, according to the school district. The victim, whom the DA’s office did not identify, is believed to be an elderly woman who was walking in the vicinity of the school, according to neighbors at the scene.

Three schoolchildren were in the school van when it struck the woman. None of them was injured, and they were safely removed from the vehicle, according to Mary Carey, a spokeswoman for the DA’s office.

Sarah and Chris Price, who live on West Street a short distance from the school where their children attend classes, said the woman was a regular presence walking back and forth on the sidewalk, often using a cart that they described as being similar to a walker.

“She definitely walks by every day,” Sarah Price said.

But she added that none of the neighbors she knows knew the victim by name or even where she lived.

“We saw the woman every day,” said Chris Price. He was not home at the time of the incident, but when he heard from a friend that something was happening at Crocker Farm he rushed back to see the emergency scene at the crosswalk in front of the school.

Pedestrians have to use the crosswalk to continue walking on the sidewalk, which crosses from the east side to the west side of the street at the school. It is not known whether the victim was in the crosswalk when she was struck.

Sarah Price said she has been concerned about the dangers posed by vehicles that speed on West Street, even with flashing signs alerting drivers to the school zone.

West Street was closed between Shays Street and Pomeroy Lane for more than three hours as police officers and firefighters responded to the crash. Parents and others coming to and from Crocker Farm had to use the school’s Shays Street entrance during that time.

Superintendent Michael Morris, who was on the scene, said the only change to the school day was to the transportation flow, and that officials otherwise kept the day normal for children, with all their regular instruction. Outdoor recess, though, was called off due to emergency personnel being in the vicinity.

Amherst Police, Massachusetts State Police assigned to the DA’s office, the MSP Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section (CARS), and MSP Crime Scene Services are investigating. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death.

UMass Transit posted on its Twitter feed that the Route 38 bus was skipping the closed West Street section and had established a temporary stop at the Speedway gas station at the intersection of Pomeroy Lane and Route 116.

The road reopened shortly before 3 p.m., in time for the school’s dismissal.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.