Close knit North Country communities are grieving after a multi-vehicle crash took the lives of six of their own. As families and friends cope with the loss, our Cara Thomas tells us about two North Country school districts closely connected to those who died.
NORTH COUNTRY, N.Y. -- It was an accident that shook many in the North Country to their core. An accident that took the lives of six loved ones, all who lived within 20 miles of one another and connected in some way to two local school districts.
Brasher Falls School Superintendent Stephen Putman said, "It's a very tragic time, difficult for everyone."
Four members of the Dana family from North Lawrence were killed that day. A grandmother, a mother and two daughters. And three of them were remembered at Brasher Falls Elementary School as students and faculty wrote notes to the deceased on a memory wall.
Dana was a mother and a special education teacher at Brasher Falls. Her two daughters, 14-year-old Caitlyn and 11-year-old Lauryn, attended the school as well.
"Laurie was a dedicated professional and a very caring person and she had two lovely daughters that their friends are going to miss very, very much," said Putman.
Faculty and students at Brushton-Moira School District are also mourning the loss of loved ones. Janet Dana, who was Laurie Dana’s mother-in-law, was also in the vehicle. She is remembered as a beloved retired English teacher.
Nenette Greeno is Brushton-Moira School's Middle Level Principal. She said, "When I had her as a teacher, I just remember her being a very funny person, very involved with the kids, very involved with the school activities and she touched everybody's lives."
A fifth person in that car, Shannon Planty, was a friend of the Dana girls. Planty , 14,was a student at Brushton-Moira Schools and was just about to enter the ninth grade.
"If you were to see her in the hall, she was either smiling for laughing. She got along well with everyone and I think that's what makes this so difficult because she will be missed by a wide variety of people," said Greeno.
Maryann Gregory, 59, also died in the accident. She was in a separate vehicle. Gregory is also remembered by Brushton-Moira schools, as she was the wife of a former school superintendent.
In a small community, everyone knows everyone and everyone mourns when tragedy occurs. Community members and school faculty say losing these six, is like losing a part of their family.
Brasher Falls School District and Brushton-Moira School District will have their doors open Monday for people to gather and remember the victims. Both schools will be offering counseling services and have a memory wall for people to sign or write a note to the grieving families.
Services for all members of the Dana family will be held at the same time.
Calling hours are at the Flint Funeral Home in Moira from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. The funeral will be Tuesday at 11 a.m. at St. Mary's Church in Brushton.
The driver of the DOT truck is at Upstate University Hospital in critical condition.
The family of Lewis Lottie Jr. says the father of four and grandfather is in a medically-induced coma with multiple life-threatening injuries. He is the President of the DOT CSEA Local 518 Union and was travelling for business when the crash happened.