Central Peru School District mourns the loss of teen killed in crash


A tragic car crash in West Plattsburgh on Monday left 18-year-old Dalton Criss dead and the Central Peru\ School District in mourning.

Dalton was an athlete and a musician, it’s clear that the 18-year old impacted the lives of many in his community

“For us and in our schools, I can strongly say that there isn’t a person that he didn’t influence with his actions or words,” said Matt Berry, Peru High School’s athletic coordinator.

Principal Chris Mazzella says Dalton was the kind of kid you don’t come across often. “If you were a teacher at Peru High School and you were lucky enough to have Dalton in your class room then you were lucky enough,” said Mazella.

“He would help manage a classroom just because he led by example,” he said. “Just in the hallways or in the community. He was a wonderful spirit.”

Many who knew him say Dalton was a reflection of his family.

“You couldn’t find a more generous family and a family that is so compassionate,” said Mazella.

Dalton’s mother, Barbara Criss, 55, was also injured in Monday’s crash on Route 3 in Plattsburgh.

His father, Dexter, is a chemistry professor at SUNY Plattsburgh. His sister, Danielle is a SUNY student.

Mazella says Dexter Criss, who is the artistic director of the Plattsburgh State Gospel Choir, is trying to stay strong after the tragic loss of his son.

“I would only pray that I had half of his strength and his fortitude to get through something like this,” he said.

“Dalton is the kind of kid that why you stay in coaching. His family support was the best and he’s the kid that makes you want to stay in couching for 30-40 years like we have,” said his former wrestling coaches.

School officials say that there will be a memorial when the family is ready. Councilors will be available all week at Peru Central School District and SUNY Plattsburgh.

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