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Readsboro Teen Killed in Snowmobile Accident

Staff Reports

READSBORO, Vt. — A Readsboro teen died Saturday night after being struck by a snowmobile during a party on private property about a mile off Route 100.

The office of the state's attorney is investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident that lead to the death of 18-year-old Jessica Bolognani. The accident was reported at about 10:30 p.m.

According to state police, Bolognani was riding on the back of a 2009 Polaris snowmobile operated by a Richard Bernard, 20, of Whitingham when she fell and was hit by a second snowmobile that was following, a 2001 Polaris being operated by 21-year-old Clinton Birch of Readsboro.

Bolognani was wearing a helmet but sustained a serious head injury and died of her injuries before she arrived at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington. She was pronounced dead by the regional medical examiner's office.

A group of young adults were at the camp when Bernard, Bolognani and Birch left the camp to go snowmobiling, said police, and alcohol was involved.

Bennington County State's Attorney Erica Marthage ordered an autopsy on Bolognani by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Burlington on Monday.

The investigation into the incident is continuing; anyone with information is asked to call Sgt. Mike Marvin or Trooper Travis Hess at the state police barracks in Shaftsbury at 802-442-5421. 

Bolognani was a star athlete who graduated from Twin Valley High School in Wilmington in June. She was majoring in health sciences at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. Both college and high school classmates recalled a friendly, helpful, generous young woman on a Facebook page dedicated to her. "The whole entire town is in total devastation, she was adored by all," wrote one longtime family friend.

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