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Crash injures Boy Scout camp staff - Gazette - 07/14/2006


Crash Injures Boy Scout Camp Staff

Used by permission.  Copyright GazetteNET.com


WILLIAMSBURG - All four young men injured in Tuesday's one-car crash in Williamsburg were counselors on their night off from the Boy Scout camp in neighboring Chesterfield.

The driver, Shawn Robbins, 20, of 43 Harryell St., Pittsfield, remained in critical condition today at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, a hospital spokesman said.

An investigation into the cause of the accident continues.

His three passengers, Connor Coyne, 16, Levi Bissell, 16, and Jacob Defoe, 14, were hospitalized after the crash, but have since been treated and released.

''I'm fine, I'm up and walking,'' Bissell said Thursday evening from his home in Pittsfield.

Bissell said he has a broken wrist and a few bruises from the accident.

Bissell said he does not recall the accident, due to his having suffered a concussion.

''I don't even remember getting into the car,'' he said.

The last thing he remembers before the accident was signing out for his night off at the Chesterfield Scout Reservation and waiting for Robbins to get his car from the parking lot, he said.

''I think we were headed to Hadley Mall. I think that was one of our destinations,'' he said.

The Ford Mustang, which neighbors said appeared to flip end over end, left skid marks about 75 yards long on the steep road that connects Route 143 with the town center.

The car veered off the road and collided with a utility pole. The crash caused the car roof and dashboard to cave in, trapping three of the young men inside.

Bissell said he hopes to return to the Boy Scout camp after he ''sees a few doctors.''

The counselors were halfway through their camp session at the time of the accident.

Camp Director Mark Wojtkowiak declined to comment this morning on the accident or on the young men's work at the camp. He referred questions to Scout Executive Rick Stritzinger at the Great Trails Council Service Center in Dalton. Stritzinger could not be reached for comment.

According to the Chesterfield Scout Reservation Web site, Bissell is a Scoutcraft staff member, Robbins is Scoutcraft director, Coyne is an instructor and Defoe is a first-year staff member.

Investigation continues

According to Williamsburg Police Chief John Cotton, one passenger was standing outside the car when emergency crews arrived.

Firefighters and EMTs from Williamsburg, Northampton, Chesterfield and Goshen, as well as the Highland Ambulance Service, pulled the trapped three out of the car with the aid of hydraulic tools.

The operation required three sets of the tool known as the Jaws of Life, said Cotton.

It took more than an hour and a half to get Robbins, the driver, out of the car, he said.

The accident is under joint investigation by state police and Williamsburg's town detective, William Chapman.

Cotton declined to comment on the status of the investigation.

However, he did say that excessive speed appears to be a factor in the crash.

(Friday, July 14, 2006)