Johnstown Independent

Johnstown teacher killed in head-on collision

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The death of a Johnstown High School teacher this week leaves her relatives reeling, coming soon after another tragedy for the family.

Cheryl Chapman, 47, of Orient in Pickaway County, died late Wednesday in a car crash in Scioto Township. Less than two weeks ago, she buried her 25-year-old daughter, Brittanie Pederson, who drowned in a quarry on Sept. 7.

"We haven't even gotten over Brittanie, and now this happened with Cheryl. It's just devastating," said Sally Baum, Chapman's aunt. "I just can't get over it."

Baum's great-niece died after cliff-jumping at a West Side quarry earlier this month. Several hours after she disappeared into the water near the Runaway Bay apartment complex, dive squads were called in. Chapman was sobbing in the parking lot when divers pulled out Pederson's body. Chapman was in her fourth year teaching family and consumer science, said Johnstown High School principal Kim Jakeway.

"(The students) are shocked," he said. "She was very popular. She was a good teacher, and the students loved her very much."

The driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash was in fair condition in Grant Medical Center in Columbus yesterday. Nicholas E. Mason, 27, of Grove City, is a Columbus police officer. He was off duty at the time of the crash.

Chapman's vehicle collided with Mason's north of Commercial Point just before midnight. She was southbound on Welch Road, just south of Snyder Road when her car went off the road for about 500 feet, then pulled back in and crashed head-on into Mason's car, according to the Pickaway County sheriff's office.

At the Licking County high school yesterday, grief counselors were brought in to help students and staff members cope with the loss, Jakeway said.

"Our thoughts and prayers obviously go out to the family and to her children," Jakeway said. "We are getting by the best way we can."

Information on funeral arrangments wasn't available by ThisWeek's press time.

"We're all still struggling," Baum said. "We're not doing very good at all."

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