Trial date set in 2016 Plainfield school bus death

Date: 
10.17.2017

There was a pretrial hearing for Tendzin Parsons, 70, of Hawley, in Northampton District Court today.  A jury trial date of February 26, 2018 was selected. There will be another pretrial hearing on December 1, 2017.

In September, Parsons decided against pleading guilty in Northampton District Court on a charge of negligent motor vehicle homicide in connection with the death of 9-year-old Summer Steele of Plainfield on Oct. 28, 2016.

The change of plea came after Judge Michael Goggins informed Parsons that he would impose a one-year sentence to the House of Correction, rather than a suspended sentence and probation that had been jointly recommended by the Commonwealth and Parsons’ attorney.

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.​