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Harwood Union High School To Hold Vigil For Students Killed In Crash

Harwood Union High School has opened its doors today, a federal holiday, to allow its students to come together after a crash on Interstate 89 this weekend killed five teenagers, four of them from Harwood. The school is also holding a candlelight vigil this evening.

At around midnight on Sunday, a pickup truck going the wrong way on Interstate 89 in Williston crashed into a car, killing five teenagers.

The driver of the pickup truck, identified as Rich Bourgoin, 36, then caused multiple crashes after getting out of his truck and stealing a Williston police cruiser that arrived on the scene.

Bourgoin was taken into custody and transported to the University of Vermont Medical Center. As of Monday morning, a release from the Vermont State Police described his injuries as “critical.”

On Sunday, Vermont State Police released the names of the five people killed. They 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.

Four of teenagers were students at Harwood Union High School and the fifth attended a private school in New Hampshire.

Harwood Union High School was set to be closed Monday for Indigenous People's Day (which Gov. Peter Shumlin renamed in an executive proclamation last week), but in light of the crash, the school will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., said co-principal Amy Rex.

“These are always difficult circumstances, and you know, everybody grieves differently,” Rex said. “We understand that with children and teenagers, it's important to come together to provide them a space so that they can be together in a space that's safe and supervised.”

There will also be a candlelight vigil held at the high school tonight at 6 p.m.

Rex said the school will have counselors on hand to speak with people.

“[If] you know people are struggling or they ... need someone to talk to, they can feel free to contact us at the school and we'll help connect them,” Rex said. “We'll keep those folks [the counselors] around and onsite for probably the rest of this week.”

Rex said that the Harwood school community loves their students and are incredibly supportive at all times.

She said the students they lost were “vibrant and full of promise” and engaged in their community.

“They were the kind of students [that] just sitting in my office, I would notice them in the hallway smiling and with their friends,” Rex said. “They were beautiful people.”

Clarification 1:36 p.m. This post has been clarified to reflect the fact that this year's Columbus Day has been renamed Indigenous People's Day by an executive proclamation from Gov. Peter Shumlin.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
Liam is Vermont Public’s public safety reporter, focusing on law enforcement, courts and the prison system.
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