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Canton community mourns death of CHS student

Staff Reports

Raheim Nelson (14) shakes hands with players after a game with Suffield. Photo courtesy of Gerry deSimas. Jr/ Collinsville

CANTON - The community is mourning the loss of Canton High School junior Raheim Nelson, who was killed – along with his mother - in a Christmas morning crash in West Hartford.

“It is with great sadness that I inform you that Canton High School 11th grader, Raheim Dante Barry Nelson, passed away yesterday morning along with his mother in a car accident in West Hartford,” Superintendent Kevin Case wrote in a message to parents on Monday. “While we do not know specific details, the accident was reported on several news outlets.”

"Raheim joined Canton High School in August and immediately made a positive impact with his kindness and positive outlook. In a short period of time, he made an outstanding impression on all students and staff with his respectful and dedicated approach to school,” Andrew DiPippo, Canton High School Principal, stated in that same email. “While quiet, Raheim had a wonderful sense of humor who openly shared his friendly and supportive disposition with all. He was a major contributor to the team's highly successful soccer program where he worked seamlessly with his new teammates."

Bill Phelps, Canton High School Boys' Soccer Coach, stated, via that communication, "Raheim joined the soccer team this year and became an integral part of our soccer family. He was kind, dedicated, talented and much loved by his teammates and coaches."

The Canton Athletic Booster Club also noted its sadness at the news, posting on Facebook that Canton has lost a family member.

“CHS lost a member of our family yesterday. We send our love and strength to all his friends and family. May Raheim and his Mom, be in all of our thoughts and prayers. He will be greatly missed,” the post noted, while also including a heart emoji and #forever14 in honor of the young man’s jersey number.

As reported at, the two-car crash just before dawn on Christmas morning resulted in the death of three people.

According to police, West Hartford Police and West Hartford Fire Department units responded to a report of a two-car collision on Simsbury Road, near Timberwood Road, at approximately 6:49 a.m. Sunday.

Lifesaving efforts were provided at the crash site, West Hartford Police Capt. Daniel Moffo said, but two of the occupants of the vehicles were pronounced dead at the scene. Another victim, who also received medical aid at the scene, was transported to an area hospital, but Moffo said in an email that “despite lifesaving measures, the third occupant was pronounced deceased at the hospital."

Police on Monday identified the three victims as Raheim Dantae Barry Nelson, 17; Faye Dawson-Judkins, 52; and Novelette Bailey, 55. All three were residents of Hartford.

West Hartford police said Dawson-Judkins is the mother of Raheim.

The Canton Public Schools were providing counselors on Tuesday and has provided parents additional support contact.

“I know our Canton Schools Community will support one another during this difficult time,” Case said in the email.

*Note: The spelling of the student's name was listed slightly differently by school officials and police. We have used the police released spellings and are working to seek further clarification.

The editors of and assisted in this report.

For a little more on Nelson's soccer career, visit or look out for our Jan. 6 print edition.


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