Counseling offered after teens die in South Windsor crash - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Counseling offered after teens die in South Windsor crash


As police continue to investigate this weekend's deadly crash in South Windsor, grief counselors were available to students at two high schools.

The crash on Abbe Road Saturday evening killed two teenagers and sent three others to a local hospital.

The roadside memorial continued to grow as friends and family grieve.

On Tuesday, support services were made available at schools in Rockville and East Windsor, which was the first day back to classes for students since the crash. 

"The range of feelings is wide," said Patricia Buell of Vernon Public Schools.

Killed in the crash were 15-year-old Brooke Wormstedt, of East Windsor, and Matthew Masse, 18, who was a senior at an alternative high school and set to graduate.

Three other teens, Megan Barnaby, 15, of East Windsor; Sarah Ballard, 19, and Christina Huppe, 17, both of South Windsor, were also injured and rushed to a local hospital.

Police said the driver of the SUV went off the road, went airborne and crashed through a number of trees before finally landing in a grassy area.

Police confirmed on Tuesday that the driver of the vehicle, Ballard, was speeding.

"I asked her why she accelerated up that hill," said eyewitness Linda Lafoe, who talked to Ballard. "And she said because her friends wanted her too."

Reconstruction crews returned to the crash scene Tuesday to take a few measurements.

Metro Traffic Services and the South Windsor Police Department continue to investigate.

"I just stood on the other side of the road and I shook my head and said this is awful," Lafoe said.

Neighbors said they've seen their fair share of crashes on the stretch of road but Saturday's crash will be with them for a long time to come.

"This picture will stay with me, the car repeatedly hitting the trees, and then, of course, opening the door and hearing all the children screaming," neighbor Janice Warren said.

Vigil held for victims of crash

On Sunday night, about 100 people gathered at the crash site to remember the two young lives lost.

"Rest in peace baby girl," one friend wrote on Wormstedt's Facebook page. "I thought I would make you a collage and show what a bright, bubbly and beautiful young lady you are."

A roadside memorial of flowers, balloons and candles quickly grew as teenagers continued to grieve.

Friends told Eyewitness News the teens may have been headed to a spot called The Sandpit where teens hang out and drink. Despite all the warnings and education, there is sadness and frustration.

"Heartbreaking. It's one of the most devastating things that could happen to such a great person," said friend Ashley Lewik. "He just graduated and had his whole life ahead of him."

The Vernon Youth Bureau Services was open Monday morning for anyone who needed to speak with someone.

Doctors discuss ways to possibly prevent further crashes

Gary Lapides works in the emergency room at Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford where he has seen various types of injuries.  

Lapides told Eyewitness News that "a lot of emphasis must come from parents" to help prevent accidents such as this one in the future.

"Parents need to realize their kids are not going understand the responsibilities or have the skills they need until they are experienced drivers," said Dr. Brendan Campbell of Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

The latest numbers from the Connecticut Department of Transportation show 255 people were killed in car crashes in one year, most due to speeding and drinking, and 24 of those killed were under 21.

Neighbors told Eyewitness News there was a fatal accident on Abbe Road a few years ago.

Doctors said teenagers are not fully developed when it comes to their brains and thinking. When you add speeding and drinking, it can lead to a disaster.

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