Trial date set in 2016 Plainfield school bus death

  • Amanda Steele, Summer Steele’s mother, reads her victim impact statement during the change of plea hearing for Tendzin Parsons in the Summer Steele case in Northampton District Court in September. To her right is Stephen Ferrarone, lawyer for Parsons and Tendzin Parsons. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

  • Brent Steele, Summer Steele’s father, reads his victim impact statement during the change of plea hearing for Tendzin Parsons in the Summer Steele case in Northampton District Court in September. To his right is Stephen Ferrarone, lawyer for Parsons and Tendzin Parsons. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Published: 10/17/2017 8:01:00 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A pretrial hearing was held for Tendzin Parsons, 70, of Hawley in Northampton District Court Tuesday.

A jury trial date of Feb. 26, 2018 was selected. There will be another pretrial hearing on Dec. 1, 2017.

In September, Parsons decided against pleading guilty in Northampton District Court on a charge of negligent motor vehicle homicide in connection with the death of Summer Steele, 9, of Plainfield on Oct. 28, 2016.

The change of plea came after Judge Michael Goggins informed Parsons that he would impose a one-year sentence to the House of Correction, rather than a suspended sentence and probation that had been jointly recommended by the state and Parsons’ attorney.

Steele, who was a student at Sanderson Academy, died as a result of injuries she sustained after becoming caught in the door of the school bus Parsons was driving. She was pronounced dead at Berkshire Medical Center shortly before 5 p.m. that day.

Parsons had been arraigned on the negligent motor vehicle charge on May 12, 2017 and released on the conditions that he not operate a motor vehicle, surrender his passport and not leave the state without the permission of the probation department.

The incident was investigated by the Plainfield Police and various divisions of the Massachusetts State Police.


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