Five Teenagers were killed in a car accident after a man drove down the wrong side of the highway and crashed into their car late Saturday night.
Police responded to Interstate 89 just before midnight on a call that a truck was going the wrong way on the Vermont highway, according to a police report. When Williston police arrived on the scene they found a two-vehicle crash and one of the cars was “engulfed in flames,” police said.
Police said they pulled one girl from the Volkswagen Jetta that was on fire and as one officer was trying to put out the car’s flames, Steven Bourgoin, 36, who reportedly caused the initial crash, allegedly hopped in the officer’s cruiser and sped away.
Bourgoin was eventually taken into custody after being ejected from the police car, which burst into flames, but not before hitting seven other vehicles and injuring several more people, police said.
The victims who were killed were identified on Sunday as Eli Brookens, of Waterbury, Liam Hale, of Fayston, Janie Cozzi, of Fayston, Mary Harris, of Moretown and Cyrus Zschau, also of Moretown. All five were reportedly high school juniors and four of them attended Harwood Union High School in Moretown.
“This is an unprecedented tragedy; we have suffered a tremendous loss," said Amy Rex, Harwood Union High School’s co-principal, in a statement. "These students were vibrant members of our school community, actively involved and all with a promise for a bright future."
Rex also said that the high school was open on Sunday and Monday with staff and school counselors on-site to provide support to the community.
Bourgoin was listed critical condition at University of Vermont Medical Center on Sunday morning, according to the Burlington Free Press. He is in police custody at the hospital.
It is unclear if he has an attorney. Police said the crashes are still under investigation.