Beloved school principal who died in motorcycle crash remembered

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“He was selfless, dedicated, enthusiastic and cared so deeply about his students and staff. That was clear every time you walked in the front doors of Warner Elementary.,” Said Governor John Carney.

WILMINGTON (DE) BY DIGITAL STAFF: A Beloved and well respected elementary school principal who died in a motorcycle crash earlier this weekend was remembered by the Wilmington community as they mourn one of their own.

We are extremely heartbroken and devastated to announce that our beloved principal, Dr. Terrance D. Newton, passed away earlier this evening from injuries sustained as a result of a motorcycle accident that occurred on Friday, March 18. Our thoughts are with his family and our Thunderbird community., Said school officials.

47-Year-Old Terrance Newton, of New Castle, died Friday night, March 18, 2022, at around 10:45 p.m. as he traveled westbound on Old Baltimore Pike from the area of Christiana Rd (DE RT 273) at Old Baltimore Pike near Christiana. Police say Newton was operating his 2020 Black Harley Davidson motorcycle when the crash happened.

According to police, where the crash occurred, consisted of a construction zone, and Old Baltimore Pike consists of a single travel lane in each direction with a continuous left turn lane in the center. The continuous left turn median ends because of a left turn lane that forms on the eastbound side of Old Baltimore Pike.  To the left of the turn lane is a concrete median.  This lane is for eastbound traffic to turn left into St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Warner Elementary School

“The motorcycle operator was attempting to overtake a non-contact vehicle that was traveling ahead of it on the left.,” Said police spokeswoman Heather Pepper. “As it began to pass on the left through the continuous left turn lane, it failed to observe the concrete median. As a result, the front tire of the Harley Davidson struck the raised concrete median which caused the operator to lose control of the motorcycle. The Harley Davidson fell on its left side making contact with the roadway before it continued westbound after contacting the ground and sliding along the concrete median.”

Pepper added, “After the collision the operator was transported to Christiana Hospital with critical injuries.  Unfortunately, on March 21, 2022, he succumbed to his injuries.”

Traffic in the area was redirected for approximately 2 hours due to the investigation and cleanup.

Newton has been the principal at Warner Elementary School in Wilmington since 2019. Governor John Carney visited the school to offer support to the students and staff as they deal with such a tragic loss in their community.

“This is such a heart-wrenching loss for our community. Dr. Newton was everything a school leader should be, and more. He was selfless, dedicated, enthusiastic and cared so deeply about his students and staff. That was clear every time you walked in the front doors of Warner Elementary., Said Governor John Carney. “I saw his dedication on recent visits to his classrooms. I was inspired by him, and will continue to be, every time I see his students walking to and from school, just a few blocks from my house.”

Carney added, “He will be greatly missed. Tracey and I are praying for Dr. Newton’s family, his many friends across the City of Wilmington and our state, and the Warner community, during this difficult time.”

Newton was known for his morning greetings as students and staff arrived and when Wilmington Fire Department learned of his passing, they stepped up to fill this important task!

 

But the kids a special way of remembering their beloved principal.

In a statement from the Colonial School District, “The Colonial School District sends sincere condolences to the entire Red Clay Consolidated School District after the tragic passing of Warner Elementary School Principal Dr. Terrance Newton. Dr. Newton earned national attention as an educational leader who touched the lives of countless students. On his journey from being a teacher to an administrator, Dr. Newton taught in Colonial and was held in high regard by his fellow educators, students, and their families. He will be deeply missed by all.”

Just two days before the crash, the Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) announced they were launching a speed awareness campaign focused on bringing awareness and educating Delawareans about the importance of following posted speed limits.

This year, Delaware has seen alarming increases in serious injuries and fatalities, especially among teens aged 19 and younger who account for 30% of fatalities. In 2022, there have been 33 fatalities and 29 fatal crashes compared to 16 fatalities and fatal crashes at this time last year. In 2021, Delaware saw a 15-year high with 139 fatalities. This included the highest number of motorcycle fatalities in over 40 years with 24, compared to 14 in 2020. Additionally, pedestrian fatalities increased with 29 compared to 24 in 2020.

“These tragic deaths are avoidable and unacceptable. Our goal is to save lives, but we need the public to do their part to protect themselves and others,” said Office of Highway Safety Director Kimberly Chesser. This campaign is a call to action for everyone to share personal responsibility, slow down, buckle up, and drive safely.

“Every life lost is a tragedy, and many fatalities can be prevented if everyone takes personal responsibility behind the wheel and drives safely. Any loss of life is unacceptable on our state’s roadways. Everyone has a role to play in ensuring that they are safe.

In collaboration with our Highway Safety partners we are committed to using all available tools to reverse these trends. The keys to success is to continue to change high risk behaviors of motorists by continuing strong partnerships and working to address education and awareness and high visibility enforcement,” said Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Nathaniel McQueen Jr.

“Just 75 days into 2022, we are currently averaging a fatality every two days on Delaware roads, and this is an increase of more than 100 percent from this time last year,” said Secretary of Transportation Nicole Majeski. “Safety on our roads is everyone’s responsibility and the first priority for anyone on our roads. We must all do our part to protect not only ourselves, but each other, to prevent these tragedies from continuing to happen.”

“The Delaware State Police may, at times, represent the most visible depiction of traffic safety initiatives, but many colleagues across our State share the same critical mission. Delaware’s citizens and visitors can be assured Delaware State Troopers are vigilant on our roadways to help keep them safe. In addition, we will be partnering with other Delaware law enforcement agencies and agencies throughout our region. But, without question, our most valuable partner in this work is you. So please know when you see Troopers engaging motorists on the roadside, students in our schools, or perhaps citizens at community meetings, we are doing so to prioritize your safety and wellbeing,” said Superintendent of the Delaware State Police, Colonel Melissa Zebley.

The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit are continuing to investigate this fatal collision. Anyone who witnessed this collision is asked to contact Cpl/3 John Forester  302.365.8485. Information may also be provided by sending a Private Facebook Message to the Delaware State Police or contacting Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or via the internet at www.delawarecrimestoppers.com

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Delaware Newsline is a digital Delaware News Organization that provides local and national breaking news content to its Delaware and U.S. audience, by utilizing multiple platforms including web, social media, and video.

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