Chittenango teacher who crashed into Erie Canal has died

Harsh Road in Sullivan Wednesday morning

Authorities say a woman whose car crashed into the Erie Canal in Madison County Wednesday morning has died from her injuries.

Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse says 48-year-old Colleen Hyland of Oneida died around 12:30 a.m. Thursday.

The Madison County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday that Hyland lost control of her SUV on Harsh Road around 6:30 a.m., hit the back of another car and then a bridge abutment before flipping over and landing in the Erie Canal in the Town of Sullivan, between Chittenango and Canastota.

Deputies say Hyland's vehicle came to rest on its roof in three feet of water. Firefighters from three departments freed her from the SUV.

Hyland had been on her way to work at the Chittenango Middle School, where she was a seventh grade teacher.

The Chittenango School District has cancelled afterschool activities for Thursday due to Hyland's passing. Superintendent Michael Schiedo says the district has ten counselors at the middle school and four at the high school to help students and staff through the grief process, and they are prepared to have counselors available again on Friday.

The district also sent a letter to the community announcing Hyland's passing. Here is the text of that letter:

"Dear Community Members,

As you may be aware, Ms. Hyland was involved in a tragic car accident early yesterday morning. It is with heavy hearts that we share with you, Ms. Hyland passed away this morning. It is with indescribable sorrow that we, as a school family, begin to cope with the loss of one of our finest teachers. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ms. Hyland's family and the entire Chittenango Central School community. Without exception, Ms. Hyland was loved and adored by our students, staff and everyone she came in contact with.

In our efforts to support one another in this unthinkable tragedy, we have gathered our crisis team at both the middle school and high school. Additionally, we are prepared to have counselors from across the district and outside the district to provide help with the grieving process for students and staff. Now, or in the weeks and months to come, please let us know if there is anything we can do to help support you or your loved ones.

This is an extremely sad time for the Chittenango Central Schools family and our community.


Mike Schiedo, Mike Eiffe, Scott Mahardy, the entire Administrative Team and the Board of Education"

A silent prayer gathering in memory of Hyland is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Crossroads Community Church on Fyler Road in Chittenango.

(Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.)