Whitingham woman ID'd in fatal crash

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WHITINGHAM — A 66-year-old woman from Whitingham was pronounced dead at the scene of a crash early Wednesday night.

The Vermont State Police responded to the crash at about 4:54 p.m., according to a press release. Police said investigation of the scene and witness statements indicated Jean Ellis had been traveling north on Route 112 in a 2012 Mini Cooper by the residence of 195 Route 112 when she failed to navigate "a moderate left hand turn" for an unknown reason.

The vehicle kept going straight, traveling off the right hand side of the road, overturning as it went down a 10-foot retaining wall along a creek, according to the press release. It landed on its roof in shallow water. Police said there were no marks in the roadway to indicate braking.

Sgt. Ryan Wood of the State Police told the Reformer drugs and alcohol are not believed to be involved. He suggested the crash could have occurred from "possible inattention or most likely a medical event."

Ellis was removed from her vehicle and provided assistance by nearby rescue personnel and witnesses, according to the press release. State Police were assisted on scene by the Whitingham Fire Department and Rescue, Wilmington Police Department, A's Auto & Truck Repair and several businesses on Route 112.

The incident is still under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact Trooper John Waitekus at the State Police Westminster Barracks at 802-722-4600.

"This is so sad," Gretchen Havreluk of Jacksonville, who works an economic development consultant for the town of Wilmington, said in an email.

Ellis "was a wonderful person," Havreluk said. "Very caring to her family."

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Sharon Berry, chairwoman of the Twin Valley School Board, has lived next to the Ellis family for more than 20 years. She called Ellis a "wonderful soul."

"[S]he helped our family many times by either visiting or taking my mom out to run an errand," Berry said in an email. "She loved her family and friends and animals, always had a smile to share and will truly be missed."

Todd Gareiss, who has employed Ellis' daughter Stacy as property manager of TK/SteelString Properties for more than a decade. described Ellis as "a woman of few words but a huge heart."

"It's just such a loss for the family and the valley," Gareiss said. "She was a great partner to Peter, the husband. She raised three great children. They've all helped me tremendously, always willing to lend a helping hand, always there when you need them."

Gareiss said he feels so sad for the family.

"You can't replace her," he said, calling Ellis one of the Deerfield Valley's finest.

Ellis's husband owns Peter Ellis Painting.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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