Mother, daughter die on snowy roads; 2003 toll climbs to nine
By St. Albans Messenger Staff

The above photo of the accident was scanned from The December 8, 2003 issue of The St. Albans Messenger - Photo was taken by Dave St. Pierre and in no way reflects the quality of his work.

Georgia -- A Bellows Free Academy-Fairfax sophomore and her mother were killed in a weather-related accident on Route 104A here Saturday.

Emily Aja, 15, and Diane Aja, 46, both of Fairfax, were killed when the 2000 Honda Civic the teenager was driving from Fairfax toward Georgia went into a skid coming down a hill around noon.

Vermont State Police said the car crossed the center line and was struck broadside by a 2001 Dodge truck driven by Jeff Gratton, 43, of Fairfax. The truck was heading in the opposite direction on Route 104A.

Both mother and daughter were pronounced dead at the scene. A second passenger in the Honda, who was not identified, was transported to Fletcher Allen Health Care and treated for unknown injuries.

Treacherous road conditions created by the first heavy snow of the season led to the fatal accident, authorities said.

BFA-Fairfax Principal Scott Lang this morning said that BFA students are grieving.

"The mood here is very somber," Lang said. "It's very quiet."

Lang said the administration has support staff in place to help students deal with the loss of their classmate.

"We're giving everyone permission to grieve or not as they need to, and keep going on," Lang said.

Lang said a wall has been created at the school containing student writings in memory of Emily Aja.

At Emily's empty desk, one teacher has placed flowers and a candle.

The deaths, unofficially, are the eithth and ninth on Franklin County roads this year. Two young Fairfax men also died in a car wreck in nearby Westford in Chittenden County in April.

Eleven people had died on county roads by this date last year and that was the total for the entire year of 2002.

(The above article appeared in the Monday, December 8, 2003 Edition of The St. Albans Messenger)