BRASHER FALLS -- Brasher Falls Central School is working through the shock and dismay the community feels this morning after the deaths of three students and a teacher in a fiery crash in Antwerp yesterday.
Dead are special education and speech teacher Laurie Dana, 42, of North Lawrence, and her daughters, Catelyn, 14, and Lauryn, 11; the girls' grandmother, Janet Dana, 69; and the girls' friend, Shannon Planty, 14, a student at Brushton-Moira Central School. They were all in one car.
Also dead is Maryann Gregory, 59, Dickinson Center.
"The mood is certainly somber," said Superintendent Stephen Putman. "We're trying to make a supportive environment here, so we've got extra people so we can help teachers, students and staff any way we can."
All the school counselors and two bereavement counselors from Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley are in the Brasher Falls Elementary School library this morning for any students and staff who need help understanding and dealing with the loss. The counselors will be there through 1 p.m. today for those who feel they can use some help.
"After that, we just don't know what we will be doing," explained Putman. "We're still waiting for word of plans for services, so we don't know what's next."
Çlassmates and friends of the girls are likely to be strongly affected, "but for some of the younger kids, they are more concerned about Mrs. Dana, who worked with many of them," Putman said.
The crash occurred when, according to state police, a tractor trailer struck cars slowed or stopped at a road work site on U.S. Rt. 11 just over the St. Lawrence County line in the Jefferson County town of Antwerp.
A Department of Transportation worker from Nicholville, Lewis Lottie, Jr., 44, was critically injured and was flown to University Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse.
The truck driver, James Mills, 45, of Myerstown, Penn., was also injured and treated. He was also being tested for drugs and alcohol, a state requirement in fatal accidents.