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    Sunday, September 25, 2022

    Community mourns loss of mom and son killed in Montville crash

    Norwich Free Academy students make their way across campus between classes wearing black Monday, September 19, 2020, in memory of classmate Tyshon Harper, 17, who was killed late Friday night along with his mother, Jamie Krajewski, in a crash on I-395 in Montville. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
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    Norwich Free Academy students enter the Tirrell building wearing black Monday, September 19, 2020, in memory of classmate Tyshon Harper, 17, who was killed late Friday night along with his mother, Jamie Krajewski, in a crash on I-395 in Montville. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
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    The Norwich school community on Monday was among those mourning the loss of a 17-year-old Norwich Free Academy student killed with his mother on Friday in a highway accident in Montville.

    Tyshon Ozzie Harper, 17, and his mother, 33-year-old Jamie Krajewski, both of Norwich, were standing on the shoulder of Interstate 395 when they were struck and killed by a vehicle that had veered onto the shoulder.

    Norwich Public School Superintendent Kristen Stringfellow shared the news with school families and staff on Saturday. Harper and his younger brother both attended NFA, and his three younger siblings attend schools in Norwich, she said.

    Stringfellow said counseling services would be available for staff and students at both Teachers’ Memorial Global Studies Magnet Middle School and Uncas Elementary School.

    “Please keep their family in your thoughts and prayers as they grieve the tragic loss of their mother and brother,” Stringfellow said.

    Likewise at NFA, the campus community was informed that counselors would be available on Monday. NFA Head of School and Superintendent Brian Kelly led a moment of silence for Harper on Monday morning, and a number of students were wearing black, a student-driven initiative to show support for Harper and his family.

    “On behalf of our entire community, I offer condolences to Tyshon’s family, including his brother, who is also an NFA student, in this unimaginable time of need,” Kelly wrote in his message to the school community.

    Harper was the oldest of Krajewski’s five children and previously had played football with the Putnam-based WPTP Junior Football league, where his mother was known for yelling her son’s nickname, “Let’s go, Chubby,” at games. Krajewski has a past address in Putnam.

    The league posted a touching memorial to Harper on its Facebook page calling him a “standout athlete for WPTP and a player any coach would love to have.” The memorial called Krajewski one of her kids’ biggest fans who “always showed unwavering support for all her ‘babies’.”

    “We lost two great, young, promising souls that had their whole lives in front of them,” the post reads. “Please join us in sending positive vibes to their family members as they go through the most difficult of times.”

    A Gofundme page was set up to accept donations to help pay funeral expenses for the family by Tracie Renshaw of Putnam. Renshaw could not be reached for comment but said in a Facebook post “the community is shocked and saddened by the news.”

    “You made an impact on all of our children, being the loudest and proudest mom in the stands and we certainly are going to miss you and chubby,” Renshaw wrote of Krajewski.

    State police on Monday provided no update on the status of the investigation. No arrests were made in the case as of Monday afternoon.

    The accident, which involved three vehicles, occurred at 11:24 p.m. Friday in the area of Exit 9 on the northbound side of I-395 in Montville. Police said a Lexus driven by Jeremiah T. Rodriguez was disabled and pulled over in the right shoulder of the highway with Krajewski’s Buick Enclave parked in front of it.

    A Volkswagen Passat driven by Derion Coker, 28, of Pawtucket, R.I., was traveling north in the right lane when his vehicle crossed over the white fog line onto the shoulder and hit both vehicles and the guardrails. Krajewski and Harper, who were outside of the vehicle, were struck and killed.

    Coker, Rodriguez and 20-year-old Chelsey Santiago of Newington, a passenger in Rodriguez’s vehicle, were all taken by ambulance to The William W. Backus Hospital for suspected minor injuries. Another person listed as a pedestrian, 17-year-old Alonzo Henries of Putnam, was listed as possibly injured but not taken to the hospital, police said.

    Police said 50 feet of guardrails were damaged by the impact of the crash.

    g.smith@theday.com

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