School bus aide dies days after bus crash in Saratoga County

GALWAY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A school bus crashed into a tree in Saratoga County recently, sending three people to the hospital. An accident report filed with the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department and obtained by NEWS10 indicates that school bus aid Kim Marie Tittensor died five days later from an injury sustained in that crash.

“I talked to her on the phone that night after that,” said Tittensor’s son, Deven Swiergiel, remembering the day of the crash. “All things considered; she sounded pretty good. She was just tired. And then Sunday was the last time anybody heard from her. And the coroner told us it was delayed hematoma rupture of the spleen.”

The spleen is a gland just behind the left side rib cage. It can be damaged by significant impact to that part of the body. Dr. James Saperstone said, “Because you lose blood, you get dizzy. You might faint, you might be nauseated—most people that have a ruptured spleen usually get to the hospital and it’s diagnosed quick enough. But sometimes, it doesn’t.”

Tittensor, 56, a longtime resident of Galway, was found dead in her home. Though she was injured on the job, being a school bus aide was a blessing for her, according to her son. “I can’t remember a single call that I had with her that she didn’t mention the kids,” Swiergiel said. “She just absolutely loved them. I think it was like the highlight of her day.”

“We did a lot of camping growing up and that was always just such a good time,” Swiergiel shared, among his fondest memories of his mother. “She [made] sure that we got out in nature a lot, and I carried that forward. I share that with my friends now.”

Tittensor shared grandparenting responsibilities with her ex-husband and his wife, Becky Pettit. “Unexpected, and she’s very young,” Pettit said. “It was sudden,” she said, adding that the family was still in shock. “I don’t think we’ve really processed it.”

Pettit will keep Kim’s beloved companion, her dog, Bubba. “He’ll look at the door and see if she’s coming to our house, because she used to come over and visit, and sometimes bring him with her,” she said.

Galway Central School District is also dealing with the sudden loss of one of their own, “We are heartbroken over Kim and will always remember her smile that brightened everyone’s day. Working with children was her calling, and the children loved her,” said a spokesperson for the district.  Superintendent Brita Donovan said that the school planted a tree on campus in Kim’s honor.

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