2-year-old, 80-year-old die in crash on Rt. 103 in Chester Driver flown to DHMC, gives birth to boy by C-section

Please see below for updates made at 5:24 p.m. and 4 p.m.

By Shawn Cunningham and Cynthia Prairie
© 2022 Telegraph Publishing LLC

A minivan traveling south on Route 103 in Chester on Wednesday night crossed over the center line and hit another vehicle head-on, resulting in the death of the minivan’s 80-year-old driver and a 2-year-old passenger in the other car.

Map of Wednesday night accident on Route 103 in Chester that left two people dead. Click map to enlarge.

According to the Chester Police Department, Janice Bergeron, 80, of Rockingham, was driving a 2006 Toyota Sienna on Route 103 near Peck Road at about 8:45 p.m. when she veered into the northbound lane and struck a 2014 Toyota Camry driven by Heather Morse, 24, of Springfield.

Morse’s 2-year-old daughter, Amarya, who was in a car seat in the back seat of the Camry, died on the scene. Morse’s partner and Amarya’s father, Michael McIver, 24, also of Springfield, who was riding in the front passenger seat of the Camry, sustained hand and head injuries. He was released from the hospital last night following treatment.

Bergeron sustained “significant injuries” while Morse had significant but not life threatening injuries.

According to a GoFundMe page established to help the family with funeral and other expenses, one of Morse’s legs was broken and will require surgery. But she was six months pregnant and once at the hospital, doctors decided to perform an emergency C-section. Morse and McIver’s son Oliver was born last night and will apparently be in the neonatal intensive care unit until June.

According to scanner traffic last night, at 8:51, Chester Fire and Ambulance were called to the scene for a crash with multiple injuries, entrapment and smoke coming from the vehicles. The Chester Ambulance was transporting a patient to Springfield at the time, but a Springfield Ambulance that had assisted with that call turned around and came back to Chester.

Chester Fire Chief Matt Wilson went directly to the scene and reported two people trapped and one fatality and at first asked for a DHART helicopter but then upgraded that to two. Wilson told The Telegraph Thursday morning that helicopters from Massachusetts, Albany and Burlington were unable to fly due to weather so only one from Dartmouth was available.

Bergeron was taken directly to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center by Chester Ambulance with a paramedic from a Golden Cross ambulance in attendance. She later died of her injuries.

Morse was flown to DHMC by DHART. McIver was taken to Springfield Hospital by Ludlow Ambulance, treated and released.

Morse, a 2016 graduate of Green Mountain High, is a para-educator at Cavendish Town Elementary School. CTES Principal Katherine Fogg said on Thursday morning that a crisis team is “putting plans in place to support staff, parents and students,” during this tragedy.

According to police, shortly before the crash, Springfield Police had received a report of a blue van being driven erratically without headlights.

Chester Police Chief Richard Cloud told The Telegraph Thursday morning that the impact of the Sienna on the Camry was to the mid-center of the sedan. Neither Morse nor McIver was wearing a seatbelt, while Amarya was in a car seat in the seat behind her father. (UPDATE: 5:34 p.m. Thursday, March 3: While police told The Telegraph this morning that Morse was not wearing a seatbelt, Heather Morse contacted The Telegraph this evening to say that she indeed was wearing a seatbelt, “until it was taken off.”) Police were uncertain whether Bergeron was wearing a seatbelt. (UPDATE: 4 p.m. Thursday, March 3: Police confirmed that Bergeron had been wearing her seatbelt at the time of the accident.)

Wilson said that the fire department used both sets of its “jaws of life” and other tools to remove both drivers.

In addition to Chester Fire and Ambulance, Golden Cross Ambulance, Ludlow Ambulance and Springfield Ambulance responded. Springfield and Proctorsville Fire Departments were called to set up a landing zone at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and Ludlow, then Proctorsville covered Chester’s station.

Vermont State Police troopers, Weathersfield Police and Springfield Police also assisted with information and town coverage during the initial investigation time period. Benny’s Towing removed the vehicles.

The road was closed for approximately four hours while police, including the Vermont State Police Crash Reconstruction Team, investigated. That investigation is ongoing.

To donate to the GoFundMe campaign, click here.

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  1. Marjorie G Cobb says:

    To the entire family, I am so sorry for your loss. I empathize with your pain. Prayers are with you all as you are guided by our Lord through the process of burying Amarya. The death of an innocence is never easy. If any of you need anything, Michael and I are a text away.

  2. Sharon Jonynas says:

    My deepest condolences to Kelly, Heather, Becca, Josh, and to the entire family. Such a tragedy.

  3. Katarina Dunn says:

    I agree with David

  4. David Waldmann says:

    While I don’t have all the details, and it may have had no implication in this case, but WHY does not Vermont require re-testing for operators’ license at some age?? I’d be glad to submit to it, myself, if it meant preventing the death of another.

  5. Arlene Mutschler says:

    I can only say GOD BLESS this family. I cant imagine and I have not words