Darryl Davis of Sunderland mourned after fatal crash on Route 11 in Londonderry


LONDONDERRY — Across the Northshire, Darryl Davis was being remembered as a woman who made a difference, especially in the lives of children.

Davis, 58, of Sunderland, died Tuesday, after she lost control of her car in snowy conditions on Route 11 in Londonderry and slid into the path of an oncoming pickup a little before 3 p.m., according to Vermont State Police. She died at the scene, despite the efforts of many bystanders and emergency responders.

A 3-year-old boy, whom police have yet to identify, was taken from the scene to Springfield Hospital and then airlifted to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.

People who knew Davis were effusive in their praise and admiration for her.

"The world is going to miss this woman, in regards to what she has done for so many foster children," said Robin Bowen, administrative assistant at the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union.

Bowen said Davis had been a longtime foster parent.

Davis' husband, Rod Davis, was killed in a crash in Brandon in July 2009, along with a foster daughter, Tabitha Wilkins. Darryl Davis was seriously injured, and all four surviving children were also hospitalized.

It didn't stop her.

"Many people would probably stop [fostering] after such a tragedy," said the Rev. Kathy Clark, pastor of the Federated Church of East Arlington, where Davis was a member. "She knew that there were still children that needed her, and she had the space in her home and the space in her heart, and she offered it generously."

Davis was one of the foster parents who could be counted on to take custody of children in the middle of the night if need be, Clark said.

Besides the dozens of children she fostered over the years, Davis also had four children of her own.

At the time of her death, she was fostering a young son.

Davis had a generous spirit and was beloved in the community, Clark said. She was a representative of the church to the Interfaith Council of the Northshire, and active in administering two of its programs.

"She touched a lot of lives throughout the county and the community," Clark said. "She will be deeply missed by those of us who had the pleasure to know her, and to love her."

Clark knew Davis for about a decade since she became a member of the church after the 2009 accident.

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Davis was "one of those people" who could juggle many things at one time, and had a litany of friends, Clark said.

Davis worked for Bayada, the home health agency, and at the Talbots outlet in Manchester. She also previously operated Curves of Manchester, and had also worked for West Mountain Inn in Arlington.

Marybeth Laflamme took over Davis' position as an innkeeper after she left. When reached Wednesday, Laflamme had made a few calls to long-time guests, to let them know what happened.

"It's going to be really hard to break it to people because she was loved by everyone," Laflamme said of Davis. "All the guests just loved her, and still [asked] about her."

Dwight Franklin Jr., a deputy sheriff with the Bennington County Sheriff's Department, grew to know and love Davis in his time transporting her foster son to Davis' home on an almost-daily basis.

"Even though she might have been stressed, or overworked, she never complained," he said.

Franklin also spent time with Davis outside of work. They had dinner together, and he went to her family gatherings when he wasn't working.

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"She became a very close friend to me," he said. "Every time I saw her, I'd always give her a big, tight hug."

He said he most remembers her smile -- and her laugh.

"Once you got to know her, and you got to know how kind and generous and supportive she was, you never wanted to leave her alone, or leave her side," he said.

Mary Ann Carlson and her husband knew Davis for years, as she worked for them at the West Mountain Inn.

"She was one of those women who could connect with our guests, tend to their needs and make them feel so appreciated," she said. "She just was a loving connector."

Carlson first met Davis when the two were on a women's community baseball team.

"She was a good hitter," Carlson remembered. Her husband asked Davis if she'd like to come work for them — because she was so forthright, fun to be around and good at baseball.

She said she would but at the time, she was six months pregnant. Carlson and her husband didn't mind.

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That child, her son, was raised at the inn, and Davis' two older daughters waited tables there.

"It was a family affair," Carlson said. "She became a part of the fabric of our lives."

Tuesday's crash occurred during a snowstorm on roads that were extremely slippery.

According to the Vermont State Police investigation, Davis was traveling west on Route 11 when she lost control of her 2003 Honda Civic. The car was hit by a full-size 2019 Ford pickup operated by Daniel A. Nicholson, 56, of Cross Plains, Tenn.

Davis was traveling downhill and headed into a left-hand curve. Nicholson was traveling uphill.

The Honda spun out of control and the pickup hit the sedan in the back, crushing the small car's rear end on the passenger side nearly to the front seats.

The road was closed for more than three hours as the crash was investigated and cleared. Most cars found alternate routes, but a line of trucks stretched back into Londonderry waiting for the road to reopen.

The family's connections in the community run deep. Rod Davis was active in the Long Trail School community, where several of their foster children attended and the family also had connections to Burr and Burton Academy.

Over the years, many of her children attended Long Trail School or Burr and Burton Academy.

LTS head Seth Linfield sent out an email to alert the community.

"Darryl Davis was a continuous presence in our school community," Linfield said, listing the many Mountain Lions the Davis family had sent through LTS. "Her smiling personality resonated through Manchester and in Sunderland."

The crash remains under investigation. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Vermont State Police Westminster Barracks at 802-722-4600.

Davis' son Bibek is a student at BBA, according to school headmaster Mark Tashjian. "Our hearts go out to the Davis family, and the BBA team is reaching out to support Bibek and the family in any way we can," Tashjian said in a prepared statement.

Contact Darren Marcy at dmarcy@manchesterjournal.com or by cell at 802-681-6534. Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at pleboeuf@benningtonbanner.com, at @BAN_pleboeuf on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 118.


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