Saxtons River teen dies from crash injuries

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WESTMINSTER — A 15-year-old Saxtons River teenager died Sunday from a severe head injury he received in a single-car crash in Westminster Saturday morning.

Vermont State Police said Vincenzo Ruggiero died Sunday morning at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H. from his injuries.

Police would not release the name of the 16-year-old driver of the car in which Ruggiero was riding Saturday. The driver received minor injuries in the crash on Morse Brook Road. A second passenger, Dominic Bates, 15, of Chester, was not injured, according to police.

Windham County State's Attorney Tracy Kelly Shriver said the driver's name was not being released due to his age.

State police, in their initial report about the accident, said that speed was a factor in the accident, which occurred at about 10:20 a.m. Police said the driver lost control of his car and struck a tree, causing the vehicle to rotate and hit another tree. The car continued to move and hit a third, larger tree, crushing the rear passenger side of the car, with what they described as an "intrusion" into the car.

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Ruggiero suffered a severe head injury. He was first taken to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and later transferred to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Ruggiero, who comes from a large, extended family in the Saxtons River, Bellows Falls and Westminster area, was a student at Bellows Falls Union High School. He graduated from the eighth grade at Kurn Hattin School in Westminster last year.

John Broadley, the assistant principal at Bellows Falls Union High School, said that he and Principal Chris Hodsden would be meeting later Sunday to talk about the school's response to the tragedy. "It's very sensitive, and we're going to formulate what we're going to do," he said, noting he and Hodsden were working with Chris Pratt, the superintendent of the Windham Northeast Supervisory Union. Pratt declined to comment about the school's plans.

Shriver said the case was being handled by Windham County Deputy State's Attorney Kerry McDonald-Cady, who handles juvenile cases, and she declined further comment.

Contact Susan Smallheer at ssmallheer@reformer.com or at 802 254-2311, ext. 154.


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