Seekonk woman, 19, killed in crash on I-495

Haley Sanford (Facebook photo)
Haley Sanford (Facebook photo)

RAYNHAM, Mass. (WPRI) — Massachusetts State Police are investigating a crash that claimed the life of a 19-year-old woman from Seekonk.

Authorities say Hayley Sanford was driving her Jeep on I-495 south in Raynham Wednesday evening when she switched lanes and collided with another SUV.

The impact sent both vehicles into the median. Sanford’s Jeep rolled over, and she was thrown from the vehicle.

She was flown to Rhode Island Hospital by medical helicopter, where she later died.

“It was very heartbreaking for me. It was so sudden. We had just talked the day before,” said Nyssa Gomez, who was best friends with Sanford since high school.

Sanford was a management student at Bridgewater State University. She was also a cheerleader, and the school held a moment of silence in her honor before their game Friday night.

“A huge empty part of me is gone. We did everything together, from breakfast every day and family camping trips every year,” Gomez added. “It’s just going to be so different without her. I’ll always remember you Hayley. You were a special person in my life. I love you so much.”

Peggy Jablonski, Bridgewater’s interim vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, sent a letter to the campus community on Friday.

“It is with great sadness that I write to you about the loss of one of our students. This morning, Hayley M. Sanford, 19, a first-year transfer student and management major, passed away as a result of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. Hayley was a resident of Seekonk and had transferred to BSU from Bristol Community College. Although new to Bridgewater, Hayley already had become deeply involved in our community as a member of the BSU cheerleading club team. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Hayley’s family and friends, including her parents, Sharon and Russell, and to the members and coaches of BSU’s cheerleading squad.

There will be a moment of silence before tomorrow evening’s 7 PM home football game where Hayley would have cheered with her squad.

This has been a difficult six months for the Bridgewater State University community as we have lost several students much too early in their lives. The Counseling Center, located on the first floor of Weygand Hall, will have drop-in hours today and tomorrow from 8:30 AM- 4:30 PM for all students and staff.

Arrangements for Hayley are being made through Duffy-Poule Funeral Home in Attleboro. We will inform the campus community of these arrangements as soon as they are finalized. For today, our thoughts and prayers go out to Hayley’s family and friends.”

Bristol Community College President John J. Sbrega also released a statement.

“The Bristol Community College family is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Hayley Sanford. Our heartfelt condolences go out to her family and friends during this difficult time. Counseling services are available to support students and other members of the college community.”

The driver of the second vehicle, a 76-year-old woman from New Bedford, suffered minor injuries.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. An accident reconstruction team is examining Sanford’s vehicle to find out if any mechanical problems were to blame.

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