DUXBURY, Vt. – Students are returning to a Vermont high school for the first time since four classmates and another member of the community were killed by a driver traveling the wrong way on a Vermont interstate.
A memorial space has been set up at Harwood Union High School in Duxbury, and students and staff will be given the space and time they need to cope with the tragedy, said Superintendent Brigid Scheffert Nease.
“It’s going to be one step at a time moving forward,” Scheffert Nease said Monday.
The four Harwood juniors and a girl who grew up with them but went to high school in New Hampshire died late Saturday when the car they were riding in was hit by a wrong-way driver and burst into flames.
The teenagers who died were Mary Harris, 16, of Moretown; Cyrus Zschau, 16, of Moretown; Liam Hale, 16, of Fayston; Janie Cozzi, 15, of Fayston; and Eli Brookens, 16, of Waterbury.
The man accused of driving the vehicle that crashed into them, Steven Bourgoin, is facing trial on an unrelated domestic assault charge, prosecutors said Monday.
Bourgoin remained unconscious and in critical condition at a hospital Monday. Police said that after slamming into the teens’ car, he stole a police cruiser and crashed into seven more cars. They said he was injured when he was thrown from the vehicle, which went up in flames.
Prosecutors said Bourgoin is their prime suspect in the teens’ deaths, but they have not charged him.
It was unknown if Bourgoin has an attorney. A public defender representing him in the domestic violence case did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
Classmates, teachers and staff held a candlelight vigil Monday night to honor the students who were killed. About 1,000 people attended. Many cried before releasing lanterns that floated off into the chilly night.