Not guilty plea for bus driver charged in 9 year-old girl’s death

Tendzin Parsons released on conditions

Tendzin Parsons, 70, of Hawley, is seen here during his arraignment in Northampton District Court on a charge of negligent motor vehicle homicide in the death of 9 year-old Summer Steele.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A bus driver from Franklin County was in a Northampton courtroom Friday to answer to a charge in the death of a 9 year-old girl from Plainfield.

Seventy year-old Tendzin Parsons of Hawley pleaded not guilty to negligent motor vehicle homicide. Mary Carey of the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office told 22News Parsons was released on conditions that he may not operate a motor vehicle, must surrender his passport, and cannot leave the state without permission of the probation department.

Carey said that on the afternoon of October 28, 2016, 9-year-old Summer Steele became caught in the door of the bus that Parsons was driving. She was dragged and later run over by the bus.

Steele was taken to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, where she died that evening.

Steele was a student at Sanderson Academy in Ashfield.

Parsons is scheduled to return to court for a pre-trial hearing on June 13.

As he walked out, so did two rows of people from the courtroom. They identified themselves as family and friends of Summer Steele. The Steele family’s lawyer, Kerry Choi, told 22News, “Their hearts are broken, their lives are shattered, this should not happen to any child.”