Local News

Teacher Dies In Wreck Day Before School Starts

Posted August 25, 2006 6:07 a.m. EDT

— A classroom at E.M. Rollins Elementary School was quiet Friday on the first day of school.

Teacher Renee Jones Carter was killed Thursday in a one-car accident on her way to get her classroom ready for her new group of first-graders.

Carter, 36, suffered a seizure and lost control of her car a few blocks from school, authorities said. The car hit a utility pole and continued across two yards, clipping a tree and slamming the back of a parked police car before going airborne and finally coming to a stop, authorities said.

"It's a tough way to start school," Principal Bill Bowers said. "We had one of the most touching mornings you would ever want to be in a school."

Bowers said Carter had asked to work with at-risk students and had prepared nameplates for them for the start of classes.

Students and faculty paused Friday to reflect on their loss.

"I taught Renee when she was in sixth grade," said Claire Foster, who has been teaching at E.M. Rollins Elementary for 35 years.

Foster said she found it difficult to cope with death of a former student and current co-worker.

"I can see her face. I walked in this morning, and I looked and I saw somebody that looked like Renee and said, 'There's Renee in the auditorium,'" she said. "So, I backed up and did a double-take. It was somebody else. I guess it was kind of my mind hoping that it was her."

A funeral service is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at Carmel United Methodist Church in Henderson, the church where Carter was married in June.