Students mourn teacher killed by car that hit pedestrians on sidewalk
CULVER CITY, Calif. – Students wept and prayed Thursday at a sidewalk memorial for a teacher who was struck and killed by a car as the driver and passenger quarreled.Eight youngsters, ages 13 to 14, also suffered broken bones, mild concussions and other injuries, but none were life-threatening, authorities said.The teacher, Carrie Phillips, was walking behind the students when she was hit Wednesday and died at the scene. The 24-year-old taught physical education at Turning Point School, an upscale private school.”She was just a terrific, caring, wonderful young lady that certainly deserved a lot better than this,” said parent Mark Steinman.Students and parents mourned at a makeshift memorial with candles and flowers. A sign stated: “You are my favorite teacher.”Cathleen Rosha, 47, knelt, wept and prayed at the site. Her 9-year-old had been one of Phillips’ students, and she said her daughter and friends were having a hard time dealing with the crash.”My daughter kept waking up all night and she was crying, ‘I don’t get it, Mommy, I don’t get it,”‘ Rosha said. “They don’t understand that in one second their coach is not here and some of their friends are injured.”Classes go to the park almost every day for exercise, she said, but she never considered it unsafe.Police said charges of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence were expected to be filed against driver Laura Samayoa, 20, and passenger Reynaldo Cruz, 19. They remained jailed on $400,000 bail each.Both also could be charged with felony hit-and-run driving for fleeing the scene, said police Lt. Dean Williams.Williams said Samayoa told police that she was arguing with Cruz and he grabbed the steering wheel. Cruz’s attorney, Peter Navarro, said his client denies yanking the wheel.”He feels really rotten about what happened to that teacher and those kids,” Navarro said.Vail, Colorado
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