Greenport woman dies in car crash

Family members and area schools are mourning the passing of teacher Victoria Sweatt of Greenport, who was killed Friday in a one-car crash in the Fulton County town of Mayfield. State police are looking into the accident to determine its exact cause, but weather is thought to have been a contributing factor. Contributed photo

MAYFIELD — A Greenport woman died in a car crash in the Fulton County town of Mayfield on Friday, state police said.

Victoria Sweatt, 43, was killed when the 2012 Hyundai Elantra she was driving crossed into the southbound lane on Route 30 in Mayfield and collided head-on with a tractor-trailer, according to state police.

The tractor-trailer, which was traveling south at the time of the collision, was operated by 57-year-old Daniel Barr of Cobleskill, according to state police.

Barr was not ticketed in the crash, Trooper Kerra Burns said.

There had been a snowstorm the day of the accident, and weather is thought to have been a factor in the crash, Burns said.

“It looks to be weather-related, but that is from the preliminary investigation,” Burns said. “We had a storm that day in the area. We believe the crash was related to the weather.”

Investigators are continuing to look into the crash and determine its exact cause, state police.

Mayfield had freezing rain Thursday night, turning to snow on Friday, according to meteorologist Dan Thompson of the National Weather Service in Albany. The area had four to five inches of snow of the ground by the time the storm ended Friday afternoon.

“There was rain turning to snow that day, and freezing rain the night before,” Thompson said. “We had a winter weather advisory for the area on Friday.”

Sweatt lived in Greenport with her husband of 21 years, Michael Sweatt. The couple has three sons.

Victoria Sweatt taught English and special education, most recently as a special education teacher at Stissing Mountain Junior/Senior High School, 2829 Church St., Pine Plains.

“She got into the [special education] field because one of her brothers had a disability. She was one of six children,” Michael Sweatt recalled Monday. “She wanted to help other people with those kinds of conditions live better lives.”

Victoria Sweatt worked for many years to earn her master’s degree as an English and special education teacher, Michael said.

“After getting that degree, the Pine Plains school district got in touch with her. She was thrilled at getting her own classroom, with her own students,” Michael Sweatt said.

She joined the staff at the school this year.

“She had a passion for teaching and a great deal of compassion for her students. During her short time with us she made a lasting impression on her students and her colleagues alike,” Pine Plains Central School District Superintendent Martin Handler said in a statement.

“Our hearts go out to her husband, her sons and her extended family,” Handler said. “Though her time with us was brief she will not be forgotten.”

Before joining the Pine Plains district, Sweatt was a teacher at Astor Services for Children and Families in Rhinebeck. Before that she taught for a little over a year at Warren Street Academy in Hudson, where she taught English, said Dan Kalbfliesh, acting principal at Warren Street Academy.

“We were her first full-time job when she got her full certification to teach 7-12 [grade] English,” Kalbfliesh said.

Sweatt was engaged with her students, he said.

“I have a very vivid memory of her dressing up for Halloween. She was always very enthusiastic about different events throughout the year, but the Halloween costume really sticks out — she dressed as a witch,” Kalbfliesh said. “Her top priority was establishing deep relationships with her students. She took a lot of care in the things that happened with them outside of school.”

Earlier in her career Sweatt also worked as a substitute teacher in the Hudson City School District for nearly 10 years.

“Our hearts and thoughts are with the Sweatt family,” said Maria Lagana Suttmeier, superintendent of schools for the Hudson district. “Victoria will be remembered as a dedicated mother to her three sons, Tristan, Devon and Mason. She was also a valued substitute in our district before taking a job at the Warren Street Academy.”

In addition to her work in education, Victoria Sweatt was a published poet, penning two books, her husband said. She also loved music and the outdoors — she was an avid hiker — and nature, especially the ocean. The couple were planning a vacation somewhere near the Atlantic Ocean on their next anniversary.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been corrected to reflect new information.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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