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Four fair workers killed in two-vehicle crash on Route 22A

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Posted on August 10, 2017 |
By Addison Independent Staff



BRIDPORT — Four people driving to New Haven on Monday to work for a concessionaire at the Addison County Fair and Field Days were killed in a two-vehicle crash on Route 22A in Bridport.

Vermont State Police identified those who lost their lives as Jennifer N. Valdez, 34, of Westerville, Ohio; Steven Holmes, 20, of Chatsworth, Ga.; Amber Brewer, 19, of Dalton, Ga.; and Justin Hendrix, 38, of Bryceville, Fla.

Police report that the four were driving northbound on Route 22A in Bridport early Monday afternoon when their 2001 Volkswagen Beetle crossed the center line and struck, head-on, a pickup truck driven by Lisa Nunez, 51, of Leesburg, Fla. She and her passenger, 27-year-old Thomas Sykes of Wilmer, Ala., were taken to the University of Vermont Medical Center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

The accident occurred at around 12:40 p.m. near Route 22A’s intersection with North Cream Hill Road near the Shoreham town line. Because of the accident police closed Route 22A for several hours as multiple emergency responders tended to the scene.

All four individuals who died were employees of Dreamland Amusements, the company contracted to run amusement rides at Addison County Fair & Field Days, which opened a five-day run in New Haven on Tuesday. Those at the fair said the midway didn’t open until late on the first day of the fair.

Dreamland Amusements of Nevada issued the following release on the tragedy on its Facebook page:

“There are no words to truly comfort us, just our own strengths to support each other. Lots of emotions and tears for all of us. Good souls that impacted our daily life have left us memories and a big void.

“Remember to be good to yourself every day and drive safe on the roads of life ahead. Wear your seat belts, watch in all directions while you drive.

“Rest In Peace

Steven Holmes aka Country

Amber Brewer

Justin Hendrix aka Redneck

Jennifer “Nicki” Valdez”

State officials, including Commissioner of Public Safety Thomas D. Anderson, issued a warning to Vermonters in light of this crash and several other fatal crashes that took the lives of eight people in the past week.

“While the cause of these crashes is still under investigation, we do know that seven of the eight people who died were not wearing seatbelts,” the joint statement said. “Statistically, a person wearing a seatbelt is 50 percent to 70 percent more likely to survive a crash than an unbelted person. It’s simple: Buckling up may save your and your loved one’s life. It is the single most important thing you can do when getting into a car. If you are the driver of a vehicle, insist on seat belts for all occupants.”

They also urged Vermonters not to endanger others by driving if they are impaired by drugs or alcohol.

“Law enforcement cares deeply about the safety of our communities … In the wake of these recent crashes, law enforcement in Vermont will be coordinating to increase police visibility on our highways. We will also be exploring ways to increase our messaging on the importance of driver responsibility and safety.”

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