PIGEON FORGE (WATE) – Students and staff at Pigeon Forge Primary School are mourning the loss of a first grade teacher who died in a car crash over the weekend in DeKalb County, Georgia.
DeKalb County police say Nathan and Janel Buice were driving on Lilburn Stone Mountain Road Saturday night just after 11 p.m. when they swerved to avoid a deer and lost control.
Their SUV hit a guard rail on the opposite side of the road and went airborne across the embankment, striking a tree.
The vehicle flipped and turned onto its side. Nathan Buice was able to crawl out of the SUV several hours later and flagged down a passing driver for help.
Janel Buice was found dead in the passenger seat. She was a first grade teacher at Pigeon Forge Primary School.
Principal Dr. Connie Cottongim posted this statement on the school’s website:
Pigeon Forge Primary Faculty and Staff are saddened by the sudden loss of our dear friend and 1st grade teacher, Janel Buice. Janel was an excellent teacher at Pigeon Forge Primary who was loved by students, parents, and colleagues. She had a true love for teaching and learning and exemplified the best of qualities in her role as a first grade teacher. Janel was kind, compassionate, and enthusiastic about teaching children, always sharing a warm smile with everyone. Her love for learning was joined with a loving and giving spirit that made each child feel safe, secure, and motivated to learn. Janel will be greatly missed by everyone at Pigeon Forge Primary. Our sympathy and thoughts go out to Janel’s family at this difficult time. During this time, counselors will be made available on an as needed basis. Any questions or concerns should be addressed to Dr. Connie Cottongim or Hans Ballew.