Tragic Bus Crash Claims Lives of Two, Injures Dozens of Student Musicians

A tragic accident occurred on Thursday when a charter bus carrying 40 student musicians from Farmingdale High School, Long Island, to a camp in Greeley, Pennsylvania, veered off Interstate 84 near Wawayanda in Orange County, New York, and plummeted 50 feet down a ravine. The crash resulted in the deaths of two people, including the school’s band director, and left dozens of students injured.

The victims of the fatal accident were identified as Gina Pellettiere, 43, the director of the high school’s marching band and wind ensemble, and retired teacher Beatrice Ferrari, 77. Pellettiere had been teaching music for nearly 20 years and had led her students on numerous trips. Ferrari, a former history teacher at Farmingdale High School, continued to chaperone band trips even after her retirement.

The cause of the accident appears to be a faulty front tire, according to New York Governor Kathy Hochul. Five of the injured students were rushed to the hospital in critical condition. The bus, operated by Regency Transportation, was one of six transporting band members to the camp.

Eyewitness accounts and photos from the scene depict a horrific scene, with the bus lying on its side at the bottom of a slope surrounded by trees. First responders were seen using a ladder to reach the side of the bus to assist victims.

A 15-year-old student on the bus, Anthony Eugenio, recounted waking up to a thud and feeling the bus tip over. He described a chaotic scene with people yelling and blood everywhere.

Regency Transportation, the company operating the bus, serves New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The company, based on Long Island, had passed its most recent inspection and the driver was licensed. However, the company has failed seven of 31 vehicle inspections over the past two years, according to state Department of Transportation records.

Following the accident, the remaining five buses carrying students turned around and returned to Farmingdale. The wrecked bus was later recovered from the embankment and turned upright on the roadway.

The students were en route to Pine Forest Camp, which rents out facilities on their grounds. The camp expressed their condolences to the affected families, noting that the Farmingdale High School Band has been a long-standing and welcomed group at their camp.

The accident has left the community in shock, with many expressing their condolences and concern for the injured students. The students were expected to be at the band camp from Thursday to Sunday.