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John Battle teacher killed in Smyth County crash

Photo credit: Virginia State Police

News 5 has learned that the body pulled from the South Fork of the Holston River Thursday morning was that of a John S. Battle High School social studies teacher, according to school officials and authorities.

According to Washington County Virginia School Superintendent Dr. Brian Ratliff and Virginia State Police, 37-year-old Sarah D. Sanders was killed.

Virginia State Police said that they had been searching since about 8 p.m. Wednesday for the driver of a crashed vehicle in Smyth County. The Adwolfe Volunteer Fire Department found a vehicle in the river near Deans Branch Bridge which was later pulled from the river by a local wrecker service.

Police said the vehicle had been traveling up a private drive when the driver lost control. The vehicle then went over an embankment and into the river.

A female body was found around 8:50 a.m. Thursday about two to three miles downriver from the vehicle crash.

John Battle Principal Randy Poole expects a student-led tribute to be held before the Battle varsity girls game Thursday evening.

The crash remains under investigation.

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