Saturday August 4, 2012
North Adams Transcript
STAMFORD — Nancy Carpenter, a special education teacher at Drury High School in North Adams, Mass., for 25 years, died Thursday night at Albany Medical Center from injuries sustained in an accident earlier in the day in Clarksburg, Mass.
Carpenter drove a Mazda and Jennifer Lefevre, also of Stamford, drove a Chevy pickup truck in the crash at the intersection of North Eagle Street and West Road. Carpenter had to be removed from her vehicle with extrication equipment brought to the scene by North Adams Police and fire responders.
Lefevre was treated and released at North Adams Regional Hospital, town police said.
According to responders, the accident occurred at 11:40 a.m. “From what we understand, [Carpenter] was headed north on North Eagle Street and [Lefevre] was traveling west on West Road,” Clarksburg Police Chief Michael Williams said. “[Carpenter] went into the intersection, failed to stop at a stop sign, and made a wide swing, colliding with [Lefevre’s] truck.”
Clarksburg police and fire responded, along with mutual aid from North Adams police and fire, the Stamford Volunteer Fire Department and the Massachusetts State Police. Clarksburg Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Carlyle Chesbro said the Clarksburg Town Center served as a makeshift helicopter landing site during the response.
“It was very professional. We got our jobs done and removed
those that needed help from the scene quickly as possible,” Chesbro said.
Chesbro called Carpenter’s injuries “very serious,” and said responders took 45 minutes from the time of the accident to secure the victim in the helicopter, after extricating her from the vehicle. Both vehicles were totaled.
According to Williams, a trooper from Massachusetts State Police accident reconstruction unit was called to the scene, and the collision is still under investigation.
Family and friends remembered Carpenter on Friday as a kind, caring and compassionate individual.
“Nancy was a wonderful person and she was everybody’s friend,” said Mandy Therrien, who knew Carpenter through the Stamford Community Church’s Praise and Worship Team.
Fellow team member Jennifer Jones Blair added, “She was very compassionate and caring and those things just radiated from her.”
The Rev. James LaMothe, pastor of Stamford Community Church, said he and Carpenter became fast friends following his arrival at the church last May.
“I realized I won’t have anyone to blow up my inbox with messages anymore,” he joked during the gathering. “The night before the accident, I got a text just before midnight from her. It said: ‘Go to bed. Stop watching the Olympics.’ It was as if she was intuitive.”
LaMothe also spoke about Carpenter’s passion during church services and told the story of how he hid a tambourine she used during a weekend service.
“Anyone who knows me knows that I hate the sound of a tambourine,” he said. “She argued and fussed about using it and then I hid it on her. I know today she is up there in heaven, laughing at me and banging on her tambourine.”
He stressed that Carpenter would not want those who knew her to grieve, noting that six weeks earlier she had emailed him her funeral arrangements, so someone would know her last wishes.
“I didn’t open it until last night,” LaMothe said. “What she has requested is very fitting of Nancy. Š She has instructed that there is to be no morbidity. There is to be cake and ice cream and soda at her reception. The cake is to say ‘Heaven Bound’ and that is what we will do.”
North Adams Schools Superintendent James E. Montepare described Carpenter’s death as a loss for the whole community.
“Nancy had been a special education teacher with us since 1987,” he said in a telephone interview. “She’d been one of the most compassionate, caring teachers I know. She was always doing good things and reaching out to booster clubs or to our student career center. She was looking forward to retiring shortly. It’s just a huge blow for the city — not just the school system, but for all of the children whose lives she touched. We are very saddened by the whole situation.”
According to Clarksburg Police Chief Michael Williams, the operator of the second vehicle involved in the crash, Jessica Lefevre, was treated and released by North Adams Regional Hospital on Thursday.
Carpenter’s passenger, whose name has not been released because he is a minor, was treated at North Adams Regional Hospital for minor injuries and was later released. The accident remains under investigation.