Crash Kills Roosevelt High Teacher

September 23, 2008 12:35:44 AM PDT
Mary Stephens died this morning on her way to school. Investigators say a driver ran a red light at First and Sierra in northeast Fresno and crashed into her scooter.Late Monday afternoon staff members were told of the tragedy. Mary Stephens family reminisced about a woman who they say was always smiling and thinking of others before herself.

Mary Stephens was 59 years old, but those who know her say she was much younger at heart. In her spare time, she loved the outdoors and spending time with family and friends.

Her 90 year old mother, whose daughter shares the same name, says she never thought she'd be the one saying goodbye.

Mary's mother said, "It's a shock. I just can't still believe it. And I called my sons and they were just so upset."

Fresno police say the driver of a Volkswagen Beetle ran a red light then hit and fatally injured Stephens.

Friends describe her as a bulldog lover, who was a big fan of Iditarod races.

Those close to her say she had an unforgettable laugh and a positive attitude that was admirable.

Longtime friend Corrina Smart said, "We just would laugh and talk about everything. I remember softball, Halloween, always generous, very giving person and it's really hard to believe."

At cross country practice after school, the students she taught sat down to be told the news of their coaches accident.

Mary Stephen's mother says her daughter tucked her in bed Sunday night for the last time. Her last words to mom were "I love you."

"She always kisses me good night and told me she loves me. She's been really wonderful. I'm going to really miss her."

Family members say it was about a month ago that Stephens bought the scooter, to cut down on fuel costs.

Stephens had taught at Roosevelt for 8 years. It was a second career after she retired from Pepsi Cola after many years.

The students will be told of Stephens death Tuesday. Counselors will be on campus.

Fresno police will also be figuring out what charges the driver of that Volkswagen will be facing.

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