Freshman dies in snowmobile accident

Joe Pelletier

Jessica Bolognani, a freshman health sciences student, was pronounced dead en route to the hospital after sustaining serious injuries from a snowmobile accident on Jan. 2, according to the Vermont State Police.

Bolognani, 18, was in her hometown of Readsboro, Vt., when she fell off the back of a snowmobile operated by friend Richard Bernard, 20. She suffered major head trauma after being hit by the following snowmobile, operated by Clinton Birch, 21.

Police reports indicate that alcohol was involved in the incident, which occurred on private property.

According to the State Police, Bolognani, Bernard, and Birch were all present at a local camp before leaving to to go snowmobiling.

“There are no words to adequately express our sympathy for the devastation and profound loss for Jessica’s family and friends,’ Manuel Carreiro, vice president and dean of student affairs, said in an e-mail. “We extend our prayers and condolences.”

Bolognani, who was wearing a helmet during the accident, was pronounced dead by the Regional Medical Examiners Office.

Bolognani was a graduate of Twin Valley High School in Wilmington, Vt. She was a three-sport athlete and captain of her basketball team.

“It’s tragic,” Daniel Birch, Jessica’s high school softball coach, told the Brattleboro Reformer. “It hits you right in the pit of the stomach. Someone that young doesn’t deserve to go.”