Victim of Route 9 fatal ID'd as 2011 BUHS graduate

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CHESTERFIELD, N.H. — The woman killed on Route 9 in Chesterfield Wednesday had been married for less than two weeks, according to a GoFundMe page set up by her family.

Katelyn Cushing, 25, of Hinsdale, N.H., was killed in a head-on collision on Route 9 just west of Poocham Road on Stoddard Hill at just past 5 p.m.

Cushing, nee Sylvester, married Jake Cushing on Aug. 19. She was a 2011 graduate of Brattleboro Union High School.

"They were preparing for their honeymoon this weekend, dreamed of a starting a family and making many more memories as husband and wife," wrote Jennifer Dassau on the GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $1,000 of its $20,000 goal within a half hour of posting. "We are reaching out to you to support a local family in this time of difficulty. Anything your family can help contribute to ours is so appreciated."

"It's a sad day for my family," wrote Gail Cushing, her mother-in-law, on Facebook. "This young lady who came into our life through a bowling tournament that she and Jake attended. Oh, how you have touched our life! You have left such a void, and a giant ache. We will always keep you and your spirit alive everyday! ... Thank you for loving my boy and for coming into our life."

On Wednesday, at approximately 5:17 p.m., the Chesterfield Police Department, New Hampshire State Police, Chesterfield Fire and Rescue, Spofford Fire and Rescue, Westmoreland Rescue, Rescue Inc. and the Walpole Police Department responded to a motor vehicle accident with injuries on Route 9 east of Stage Road in Chesterfield.

According to a press release from the Chesterfield Police Department, the preliminary investigation revealed that a 1998 Honda CRV driven by Cushing was traveling westbound on Route 9 when it crossed the double-solid line and collided head-on with a 2007 Chevy Silverado 2500 which was traveling eastbound on Route 9. There were no other occupants in either vehicle except for the drivers.

"These kinds of accidents take a piece out of you every single time," said Chesterfield Police Department Chief Duane Chickering, who confirmed the identity of Cushing, though her drivers license still had her maiden name. Cushing was declared deceased at the scene.

BUHS Principal Steve Perrin told the Reformer that he had broken the new to several of Cushing's former teachers and they were heartbroken to hear of Cushing's death.

"One teacher, a science teacher, told me it was like having a college student in his class because Katelyn was so serious and so focused," said Perrin. "Despite that, she knew how to laugh. Another teacher told me she was an extremely hard-working student. The teacher told me her work ethic and her drive were going to take her places."

Chickering identified the driver of the Chevy as Tom Cusano, 64, of Dunbarton, N.H.

Cusano's son, James, told the Keene Sentinel that his father was conscious and was saddened to hear of the death of the other driver.

"He will have to undergo some surgeries and physical therapy over the coming weeks/months to recover and is unlikely to ever walk as well as he used to due to the extent of injuries to one foot, but his other injuries should all fully heal," James Cusano told the Sentinel.

Route 9 between Stage Road and Route 63 in Spofford was closed until 10:30 p.m., said Chickering.

"We are still investigating why Katelyn crossed the double-solid, but there is no indication that alcohol or drugs were involved," he said.

Chickering said his department and the state of New Hampshire have identified this location and the intersection of Route 9 and Route 63 as problem areas and are doing their best to slow people down on the road between Brattleboro, Vt., and Keene, especially at sunrise, when the sun is shining into the eyes of people driving east, and at sunset, when it's shining into the eyes of drivers going west.

Any witnesses to this accident are encouraged to contact Lt. Michael Bomba of the Chesterfield Police Department at 603-363-4233, ext 62.


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