Easthampton’s Paula Garcia, 53, killed in Hartford crash

By MADDIE FABIAN

Staff Writer

Published: 01-10-2024 2:50 PM

EASTHAMPTON — An Easthampton woman was killed in a tractor-trailer crash on Interstate 91 in Hartford early Tuesday morning.

Connecticut State Police identified the victim as Paula Garcia, 53.

Born in Spain, Garcia was the co-owner of HomestaysUSA, which she started with her husband in 2008. According to the program’s website, HomestaysUSA organizes homestays with American families for over 30 Spanish students each summer, providing the students with an immersive experience allowing them to improve their English knowledge, and giving host families the opportunity to experience a different culture.

Garcia also taught English at St. George’s British International School.

According to a Connecticut State Police report, the vehicle in which Garcia was a passenger was traveling northbound near Exit 29A in the right center lane at 2:40 a.m. directly in front of a tractor-trailer truck before rapidly decelerating “for an unknown reason.”

The truck collided with the rear end of the car before coming to a stop in the right lane.

Garcia was pronounced dead at the scene. The car’s driver suffered “suspected minor injuries” and was brought to Hartford Hospital for treatment. The operator of the truck was uninjured and declined medical evaluation at the scene.

Both vehicles were towed away due to “disabling damage.”

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The crash remains under investigation, and witnesses to the collision — including those with a vehicle equipped with a dashcam who were driving in the area at the time of the crash — are asked to contact Trooper Michael Dean #416 at 860-534-1098 or by email at michael.dean@ct.gov.