New Bedford teacher among 2 killed in motorcycle crash

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CONWAY, N.H. (WPRI) — A couple from New Bedford was killed Monday after their motorcycle was hit by a pickup truck in New Hampshire.

The crash occurred on East Conway Road as the couple – identified by the New Bedford Mayor’s office as David and Cathy Oliveira, both 57 – was taking a left turn onto Eastman Road. The motorcycle was then struck by a pickup truck.

Police said the two victims were pronounced dead at the scene. According to the Conway Police Department, neither speed nor alcohol appears to be a factor in the crash. The investigation into the crash is still ongoing.

New Bedford Public Schools said Cathy worked as a teacher in the district for more than 15 years. The district released a statement, saying additional staff will be available at Normandin Middle School and Winslow Elementary School, two schools where Cathy taught, to provide emotional support for students and staff members:

“It is with great sadness that we learned that our colleague, Cathy Oliveira, passed away unexpectedly over the weekend.  Everyone at NBPS extends condolences to Cathy’s family and are keeping them in our thoughts and prayers during this most challenging time. For more than 15 years Cathy served as an educator in New Bedford Public Schools at Winslow Elementary School, Grade 5, and most recently at  Normandin Middle School, Grade 6.  Counselors are available for any staff who needs support during this difficult time.”

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell also released a statement saying Cathy was a “dedicated teacher:”

“My prayers are with the family of David and Cathy Oliveira as they deal with this unimaginable tragedy.  Cathy was a dedicated teacher, and my own daughters, who had her as their teacher at Winslow School, can attest to her deep devotion to her students. Our City, along with the hundreds of former students on whom she left an indelibly positive mark, mourn with her family.”

Colleague and friend Debra Surprenant said Oliveira made an effort to connect with all of her students. Oliveira was Surprenant’s 5th grade teaching partner for years at Winslow Elementary.

“It wasn’t just myself who bonded with Cathy. The entire staff did,” Surprenant said. “She was just a people person. Everywhere she went, she made a connection with somebody.”

“I think she knew if she connected with them [the students] on some personal level, she could reach them much better than if she didn’t,” Surprenant added. “Those kids would have jumped through any hoop for her. They really would.”

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