Nantucket High School "Rattled" By Another Student Death In Vehicle Crash

Jason Graziadei •

School front

In the hours after a Nantucket High School student was killed in a car crash on Bartlett Road late Saturday night, school officials convened to determine how best to respond to the tragedy.

It was the second deadly accident to claim the life of a member of the class of 2024 in less than two years, and the news "rattled" the school community, according to superintendent Beth Hallett.

In a message to families on Sunday, Hallett stated "We are aware of how painful this is with such a short time between this tragedy and the loss of other individuals from our school community. We understand how difficult the next few days and weeks will be as we process yet another heartbreak for our NPS family."

Both the Nantucket Police Department and the Nantucket Public Schools have not identified the 17-year-old senior who died in the crash on Saturday due both to his age and out of respect for his family.

The schools will have counselors and a mobile crisis unit available to students and staff on the Surfside Road campus on Monday to help the community process and grieve the loss of their classmate.

Hallett said her team considered canceling classes on Monday for the high school - as they did following the tragic death of student Baxter Waldman in December 2022 - but opted to keep the school in session based on lessons learned from the response to that incident. 

"After much reflection and deliberation, we have decided that it is best to keep school open tomorrow (Monday, March 18)," Hallett wrote. "We understand that this plan differs from the student tragedy that befell us in December of 2022. We learned from that tragedy that it is best for students and staff to be in school, follow familiar routines, and seek support from counselors, staff, and peers in a safe place...We know that the best way to move forward is to continue with daily schedules while also allowing space and time for whomever is in need to process and grieve in their own way."

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Nantucket Police and emergency personnel from the Nantucket Fire Department responded to the intersection of Bartlett Road and Raceway Drive around 10:30 p.m. Saturday for the report of a single-vehicle car accident. They discovered a 2024 Dodge Promaster van had crashed into the berm at the end of Bartlett Road, and the 17-year-old operator deceased behind the wheel.

"The van was upright, on top of the berm and showed damage to the front of the vehicle," Nantucket police stated in a release Sunday morning. "Police Officers found that the lone vehicle occupant and vehicle operator was deceased behind the wheel with injuries consistent with the van's impact with the earthen berm. The vehicle operator was identified as a 17-year-old male, a Nantucket resident. Relatives of the operator were notified and due to the age of the operator, no further identification information will be provided. The Nantucket Fire Department assisted at the scene.

"There were no witnesses to the crash nor was there any evidence of any other vehicle or persons involved," the release stated. "The cause of the crash remains under investigation, however, there was evidence that speed was a factor in the crash."

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