Search for missing Sharon school bus driver comes up empty

  • Randy Koloski (Hartford Police photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/5/2021 10:14:05 PM
Modified: 11/5/2021 10:14:15 PM

WEST HARTFORD — A K-9 search team, a search boat, aerial drones equipped with cameras and an aircraft scoured the area around the school bus depot and other locations near the White River on Friday but found no new information about a missing Sharon man, according to Hartford police.

Randy Koloski, 68, a bus driver with Student Transportation of Vermont, was reported missing on Monday after he did not show up for work at the bus company’s depot on Route 14 in West Hartford. He was last seen outside his home by a neighbor on Sunday afternoon, although his vehicle was found parked at his worksite, unlocked with a cellphone and checkbook inside.

“We’re going to regroup and continue our search and hopefully move forward,” said Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brad Vail said. “Again, we’re asking anyone who has information to contact us.”

Vail said the search on Friday involved a team from the volunteer group New England K9 Search and Rescue, drones operated by Vermont State Police, a swift water rescue team boat from the Hartford Fire Department and a fixed-wing Border Patrol aircraft dispatched from Plattsburgh, N.Y., to scan the White River and Connecticut River.

The police teams and volunteers visited the area around Koloski’s residence on Farm Field Lane off Route 14 in Sharon; areas along the White River near Student Transportation of Vermont’s bus facility in West Hartford; and a vacant Koloski relative’s home on Old River Road in Hartford, Vail said.

New England K9 Search and Rescue, with a team of four trained “air scent dogs,” showed up at the bus depot at 9 a.m., said Donna Larson, a founding member of the organization which helps with Vermont State Police and New Hampshire Fish and Game Department searches. She estimated they searched about 100 acres around the bus depot site.

“Nothing was found,” Larson said she was packing up and a convoy of New England K9 vehicles were leaving the site.

Koloski was last seen by a neighbor on Farm Field Lane on Sunday talking with another man. The neighbor, Debra Ackley, told the Valley News that she heard Koloski say to the man, whose identity is unknown, “see you tomorrow” before the man drove away in a pickup truck.

But Ackley could not remember whether Koloski’s car was there at the time.

Vail said investigators have not yet been able to determine whether Koloski drove his vehicle to his employer’s bus depot, which is 6.2 miles south on Route 14 from Koloski’s residence.

“Student Transportation of Vermont remains committed to supporting local law enforcement in their ongoing search efforts,” Brian Hemenway, general manager of the bus company, said in a statement provided via email. “Our thoughts continue to be with Randy’s family and colleagues and hope for his safe return.”

The company provides services for Hanover and Norwich schools, the Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union and the Lyme School district, and Koloski drives for all three.

Larson, a founding member of New England K9 Search and Rescue, said she’s been involved in many searches over the years but she described Koloski’s disappearance as puzzling.

“This is an odd case,” Larson said in the parking lot at Student Transportation of Vermont after wrapping up the nearly four-hour search. “This is a big mystery. He’s just gone.”

Contact John Lippman at

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