Change of plea expected in fatal Plainfield school 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

  • Superintendent Michael Buoniconti at Sanderson Academy in Ashfield talks about how the local community is handling the death of 9 year old Summer Steele.

  • On Oct. 28, Summer Steele, a third-grader at Sanderson Academy, died in a school bus accident on Oct. 28. School Superintendent Michael Buoniconti is looking into creating "Summer's Law" to prevent future tragedies. Contributed photo.

Recorder Staff
Thursday, September 07, 2017

NORTHAMPTON — Nearly four months after pleading not guilty to a charge of negligent motor vehicle homicide in connection with the death of a 9-year-old Plainfield girl last year, a 70-year-old Hawley man and former school bus driver is expected to change his plea Friday.

Mary Carey, spokeswoman for the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office said late Thursday night that Tendzin Parsons is anticipated to go before the Northampton District Court Friday at 9 a.m.

Arraignment and release

On May 12 in the Northampton court, Parsons and his attorney Stephen Ferrarone of Amherst entered a not guilty plea before dozens of people, most of whom wearing purple “#loveasstrongassteele” bracelets.

Parsons was released on the conditions that he give up his passport, not drive a motor vehicle and not leave the state without permission of the probation department.

Summer Steele was a third-grade student at Sanderson Academy in Ashfield. She died as a result of injuries she suffered after becoming caught in the door of the school bus she was getting off at her Plainfield home on Oct. 28, 2016. She was pronounced dead at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield shortly before 5 p.m. that day.

Parsons had been driving elementary-age children from the Mohawk Trail Regional School District, telling police he had worked for the bus company F.M. Kuzmeskus Inc. of Shelburne Falls, since late 2014.

Information from the Daily Hampshire Gazette was used in this report.