Funeral services planned for Sanderson student who died in bus accident

  • People arrive at the Sanderson Academy elementary school where a gathering of friends, family and community members was held Sunday, October 30, for 9-year-old Summer Steele, of Plainfield who was killed by her school bus Friday, October 28. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

Recorder Staff
Published: 10/31/2016 11:37:38 PM

ASHFIELD — Funeral services are planned for Summer R. Steele of Plainfield, the 9-year-old Sanderson Academy third-grader who died of injuries from a school bus accident on Friday afternoon.

Her services will be held this Friday, Nov. 4, at 2 p.m. in Trinity Church, 17 Severance St., in Shelburne Falls. Also, there will be calling hours Thursday evening, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Smith-Kelleher Funeral Home in Shelburne Falls.

She was remembered in a two-hour vigil that drew at least 100 people Sunday afternoon to Sanderson Academy.

Summer was getting off the school bus and was not fully clear of the door when it closed. When the driver pulled away, she was dragged for a short distance, fell, and was struck by the bus. She was taken to Baystate Medical Center in Pittsfield, where she was pronounced dead.

The incident remains under investigation by the Northwestern District Attorney’s office.

Some of the schoolchildren had seen the accident, which occurred near Summer’s home on South Central Street in Plainfield, according to Superintendent Michael Buoniconti.

On Monday morning, seven counselors from Sanderson and other schools were at Sanderson, with one assigned to each classroom. Also, support was provided for teachers and staff.

“Even beyond Sanderson, we’re getting connected to all the schools,” Buoniconti said. “I’m really, really impressed and proud by the way the team has pulled together to do the right thing at the right time.”

As of Monday afternoon, a GoFundMe online fundraiser for the Steele family, to offset the financial costs, had raised $57,359 from 786 people.

Sanderson Academy postponed two Halloween events because of the sad circumstances.

Also, the Plainfield Historical Society postponed a walk of the town’s Historic District until Nov. 13, “due to the tragic death of Summer Steele,” the group posted on Facebook. “Our community needs a time to mourn and share their grief. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Steele family.”


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