Posted: Oct 09, 2016 4:42 AM EDT Updated: Oct 11, 2016 6:41 PM EDT WILLISTON, Vt. -
A horrific crash has left five people dead, including four students from Harwood High School.
Police say the crash involved a wrong-way driver and a stolen police cruiser. Police say it all began just before midnight when they received a 911 call that a Toyota pickup was heading north in the southbound land on Interstate 89 in the Bolton area.
State Police say a car with five teenagers inside was hit by the wrong-way driver's truck and burst into flames, killing all of the teens. A Williston Police Department officer was the first to arrive on the scene and ran towards the scene. The officer pulled a female victim from the engulfed vehicle, and as he was attempting to put out the fire, State Police say 36-year-old Steven Bourgoin stole the officer's cruiser and sped south at a high rate of speed with lights flashing. Police have yet to confirm if Bourgoin or a second driver was responsible for killing the teens.
The officer radioed in that his cruiser was stolen. State Police say a Richmond Police officer set up to intercept it, and when Bourgoin saw that, he turned around on the interstate and headed north in the southbound lane back towards the original crash. Police say, he was still going at a high rate of speed. They say that's when he hit seven more vehicles. Williston Fire officials say that when they arrived on scene they found two cars on fire, including the police cruiser. In addition to those killed, they say five patients in varying conditions were transported to the hospital. Bourgoin was taken into custody and transported to the UVM Medical Center where he was reported in critical condition Sunday afternoon.
Officials from Harwood Union High School say that four of the five victims attended the school. They identified the victims as: Eli Brookens (Waterbury), Janie Cozzi (Fayston), Liam Hale (Fayston), Mary Harris (Moretown), Cyrus Zschau (Moretown). Friends of the victims told Channel 3 that the students were returning from a concert in Burlington when the crash occurred. School counselors and administration officials will be at the school to talk with students on Sunday from noon until 4 p.m., and on Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. All of the school's sporting events Monday have been canceled.
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin issued the following statement Sunday evening:
"I have reached out to the families of the young Vermonters who we lost to offer love and support from me and all Vermonters during this unspeakably sad time. The loss of five teens in such a senseless tragedy is unimaginable and heartbreaking. Vermont is a community, and today we join the Harwood Union family, and share the sadness and loss of the families and friends of these teens. My deepest sympathies are with their loved ones."