New Jersey State Police identify the teacher who was killed while jogging alongside Route 206 around 2:00 p.m. Thursday as 29-year-old Allison McGinnis of Southampton Township. McGinnis taught English and language arts at Helen Fort Middle School in Pemberton Township where she was highly regarded by students and faculty.
"In her room, it had on top of her door, 'Do something amazing today' and so I know that she had an impact on her students that way," Pemberton Township Schools Superintendent Tony Trongone said.
In recent days, McGinnis had been mourning the loss of one of her students, 13-year-old Janiya Castleberry Davis. The teen was injured in a traffic accident back on August 2nd.
The child's mother spoke with Action News by phone Friday, but asked that we not use her name. The mother says McGinnis was among the very first to come visit her daughter in the hospital.
"Not just my daughter, all the students, she was more than just a teacher, she was their friend," the teen's mother said.
Janiya passed away from her injuries on August 20th.
On Thursday, her mother passed by the intersection of Newbolds Corner and Smithville roads, the site of Janiya's traffic accident, when she got caught up in a traffic blockade on Route 206 because of another terrible accident.
She later learned Janiya's teacher was involved and had been killed.
"I was shocked and I was freaked out because my daughter passed away last Thursday around 2:00 p.m. and then for her teacher to pass away one week later around the same exact time, it just gave me the chills," the mother said.
Janiya's mother doesn't know what to make of the chilling coincidence of the timing of her daughter's and her teacher's deaths, both of them in motor vehicle accidents.
"God has a pattern and I guess this is part of his plan. Maybe this is a wakeup call for people. I don't know. I just know that it's tragic and it's sad," the mother said.
Police say the pickup truck being driven by Patrick Miller of New Hanover, was heading north when it veered into the southbound lanes, hitting McGinnis.
The truck then hit trees and overturned.
Miller was airlifted to Cooper University Hospital where he is in serious condition.
31-year-old David Eldridge of Wrightstown, a passenger in the truck, was killed.
His family tells us Eldrige was on his way home after helping his cousin rebuild a play set that had been damaged in a recent storm.
State Police say the focus of their investigation going forward is to learn why the driver lost control of his truck.
No charges have been filed as police continue to investigate the accident.