Vigil held for Perry Local School district teacher killed in crash Saturday morning

CANTON, Ohio - A vigil was held Saturday night for a teacher from the Perry Local School district who was killed in a crash earlier in the day.

The Canton Police Department said 32-year-old Matthew McLeese of Perry Township crashed with a tractor trailer at the intersection of Faircrest Street SW and Sherman Church Avenue around 10:20 a.m.

The Canton Fire Department extricated  McLeese and transported him to Aultman Hospital where he died from his injuries.

According to the school's website (, McLeese is listed as a 6th grade science and social studies teacher at Pfeiffer Intermediate School of the Perry Local School District.

Superintendent Marty Bowe said guidance counselors and clinical psychologists will be available at Pfeiffer Intermediate School (located at 4315 13th Street SW in Massillon) Sunday from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.. All students are welcome to come share memories, make cards, or just talk as the community continues to deal with the loss of Mr McLeese.

Superintendent Bowe released the following statement about McLeese:
"The loss of Matt McLeese is devastating to the Perry family. Matt was a wonderful young man and an outstanding teacher. As a 6th grade science and social studies teacher, Matt touched countless students in his 9 years of teaching with his permeating smile and his always positive attitude. He was one of those guys that everybody loved.  It's left our community and schools stunned. He was so involved--he coached our track kids, helped the tech department in the summer months, and was very active in launching a school in Africa through a missions outreach. We were so blessed to have Matt for the time we did, and we mourn his loss. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all his loved ones, especially his mother, Janet, and his sister, Rachel, both of whom are employed by Perry as well."

The crash remains under investigation at this time and the results of the investigation will be presented to the Canton City Prosecutor for review.

Hundreds turned out for a candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. at Pfeiffer Intermediate School in Massillon where McLeese was a teacher. Luminaries were placed around the school's track in his remembrance.

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