By Stephanie Choate
Two Hinesburg residents were killed in a car accident on Sunday.
According to Hinesburg Police Chief Frank Koss, 17-year-old Champlain Valley Union High student Joseph Marshall was driving on Vermont Route 116 on April 26 when he lost control of his car and struck a bicyclist, Richard F. Tom, 47.
Police responded to the scene at 11:06 a.m. Bystanders performed CPR on Marshall and Tom, but both were pronounced dead at the scene.
In a press release, Koss cited “excessive speed” as the cause of the accident, and said alcohol or drug use is not suspected. Koss said on Tuesday that he does not have an estimate of the speed the vehicle was traveling but said “It was fast, fast. It wasn’t just a little over the speed limit.” The speed in that part of the road increases from 30 to 40 miles per hour.
Both were travelling south on 116 when Marshall lost control and struck Tom, then a tree.
Tom was less than half a mile from his home when he was struck and killed.
Champlain Valley Union High Principal Jeffrey Evans said Marshall was a senior. He said the mood at CVU is “somber and respectful” and that counselors are available to meet with students.
On Wednesday, students wore blue in honor of Marshall.
“Joe had some very close relationships with some of our students and faculty members, and it’s fair to say we’re reeling from this news,” he wrote in an email to the Observer. “CVU has suffered several losses over the past few years, and it is always a tragedy that requires great strength, compassion, and support from the people who make up the CVU community. I’m grateful to be surrounded by such strength, and I know we will lean on each other as we attempt to make sense and meaning from this awful circumstance.”
Evans said Marshall’s teachers and counselors described him as a young man with a big smile and bright future.
“Joe was a fantastic and caring young man,” Evans wrote, quoting a teacher. “He always had a smile on his face as he considered those he cared about. Joe had a close relationship and was extremely loyal to his family and friends and often talked about them with great pride. He was protective of them and would do anything he could to ensure their wellbeing.”
Evans extended his and the school’s condolences to the friends and families of both victims.
Visiting hours for Marshall will be April 30 from 4 to 6 p.m., with a prayer service starting at 6 p.m. in St. Jude’s Catholic Church in Hinesburg.
Kevin Bessett , Green Mountain Bicycle Club president, said Tom was a prominent cyclist and had worked for Vermont Bicycle Tours and Earl’s Cyclery.
“He was very likeable, knowledgeable, well spoken, and would do anything to help someone out who needed it,” Bessett said in a statement. “He loved anything to do with cycling. He touched many folks. It’s the first time in my 23 years of involvement with GMBC, and cycling, that a person I know will never return home from a ride. Myself and many others are devastated by this and will forever miss Richard and his charm.”
By Stephanie Choate