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      Chittenango Middle School teacher in 'very serious condition' after SUV crashed into Erie Canal

      Madison County Sheriffâ??s Deputies are investigating a two car crash that ended with a Chittenango Middle School teacherâ??s car flipped upside down in the Erie Canal.

      Deputies say the crash happened just after 6:30 Wednesday morning on Harsh Road in the Town of Sullivan, between Route 5 and Canaseraga Road.

      The investigation showed that two accidents happened on the scene. The first happened when the car, driven by 53-year-old Carolyn Kaplan, of Oneida, lost control on the road and hit a guardrail just south of the bridge. Kaplan was not injured in the accident.

      The second accident happened when 48-year-old Colleen Hyland, of Oneida, saw Kaplanâ??s accident and tried to drive around her, losing control of her SUV. The RAV4 skidded to the shoulder of the road, crossed back across the driving lane and hit Kaplanâ??s disabled car, continued across the southbound driving lane and hit the canalâ??s cement bridge abutment broadside.

      The impact caused Hylandâ??s RAV4 to flip over, falling ten feet and coming to rest on its hood in the canal in about three feet of water, deputies say.

      After rescue crews extricated her, Hyland was taken to Upstate Hospital in very serious condition, according to deputies.

      Investigators say Hyland was on her way to work at Chittenango Middle School, where she is a seventh grade social studies teacher.

      Katie is a student at the Chittenango High School. She does not want her last name included. She remembers when she had Colleen Hyland for study hall in the Middle School. " When I told one of my friends about it today, she got really upset about it. She almost started crying because I guess that she was close with her ... a nd it just wasn't, it was sad, definitely sad , n ot something I'd want to tell anybody honestly ," says Katie. "They were all just talking about it and everyone was shocked and upset like really upset about it and so many of us know her."

      Allen Riley is the Madison County Sheriff. Although he wasn't at the scene, he still knows what it looked like. "I saw some pictures, it was pretty terrifying. It was over the bank, down the canal it hit the guardrail went down into the canal which is another 4 or 5 foot drop into the water, so it was pretty terrifying," says Riley.

      No charges are pending at this time.

      Firefighters from Chittenango, North Chittenango and Bridgeport Fire Departments went into the water to help pull Hyland out.

      CNY Central Meteorologist Mike Brookins says the temperature was approximately 29-30 degrees in the Sullivan area at 6:30 a.m. He added that the precipitation was light flurries mixed with light freezing rain. There were dozens of reports of vehicle accidents due to slippery road conditions across Central New York Wednesday morning.