Nova Scotia

Car crash victims worked in Sydney-area schools

Staff and students in Cape Breton are grieving after learning the couple killed in a car crash Thursday both worked in local schools.
Dave McKeough, taught music in three Sydney elementary schools (Submitted by John Donovan)

Staff and students in Cape Breton schools are grieving after learning the couple killed in a car crash Thursday worked in the local education system.

Three people died in the head-on collision on Highway 105 between Millville and St. James Road. RCMP said a car driven by Kenneth Dove, 52, was heading west when it sideswiped another vehicle and then tried to pass a pickup truck towing a trailer by driving on the shoulder of the road.

"That attempt failed and it struck the trailer. The driver then lost control and unfortunately went into the east-bound lane and struck pretty much head-on an east-bound car," said Cpl. Ron MacDonald.

Donna McKeough, 45, was a placement officer at Memorial High in Sydney Mines. Her husband, 46-year-old Dave McKeough, taught music in three Sydney elementary schools. Both were in the east-bound car.

The couple's daughter was also injured in the crash.

Dove was from Sydney Mines.

Friends, colleagues react to news

The Cape Breton Victoria School Board said the fatal car crash was having a big impact on the school system.

Ambrose White, the superintendent of schools, said counsellors are at local schools to help people come to terms with the loss.

"It's just unbelievable. He's just a well-respected music teacher. Little students adored him. It's just terrible the impact this has had," White said.

"And Memorial High, we lost another staff member there, his wife. Not only students, but staff at that school are trying to cope."

Principal Brendan Dugas of Memorial High said everyone in the school and the community is affected by the crash.

"This is a great loss to lose two board employees, two community members, parents of one of our students," Dugas said.  "It's a shock. People are trying to deal with it the best we can. It's a very difficult day."

Cape Breton musician Aaron Lewis said the local music community is in mourning.

Dave McKeough was also a well-known musician who played with Cape Breton's top artists, even winning an East Coast Music Award in 2010 for musician achievement.

"Rita MacNeil, Matt Minglewood, Jimmy Rankin. Just a couple of years ago he had gotten an ECMA for top musician of the year," Lewis said.

"Everybody thought so much of Dave, he was a great guy, an incredible musician ... It's going to be tough."