Hawley man pleads guilty in Plainfield school bus death


Tendzin Parsons, 71, of Hawley, pleaded guilty in Northampton District Court, today, to charge of negligent motor vehicle homicide in connection with the death of 9-year-old Summer Steele of Plainfield on Oct. 28, 2016.

He was sentenced to one year in the Hampshire County Jail and House of Correction as previously recommended by Judge Michael Googins. Parsons had initially rejected the sentence during a Sept. 8 hearing.

Goggins concluded the plea colloquy he’d begun in September, and then imposed the one-year sentence, which Parsons will begin serving immediately.  

The conviction carries an automatic 15-year loss of license.

“The Commonwealth hopes that today’s disposition will bring some closure to this tragic case,” Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Andrew Covington, who prosecuted the case, said.

Steele, who was a student at Sanderson Academy, died as a result of injuries she sustained after becoming caught in the door of the school bus Parsons was driving that afternoon.  She was pronounced dead at Berkshire Medical Center shortly before 5 p.m. that day.

Parsons had been arraigned on the negligent motor vehicle charge on May 12, 2017 and released on the conditions that he not operate a motor vehicle, surrender his passport  and not leave the Commonwealth without the permission of the probation department. 

The incident was investigated by the Plainfield Police and various divisions of the Massachusetts State Police.