Pregnant teacher struck, killed in Fla.
MEDFORD, Mass. (WHDH) -- Family and friends are remembering a pregnant woman from Medford who died when a car plowed into a Florida resort.
Alanna DeMella, 27, was seven months pregnant and a beloved teaching assistant at Pierce Elementary School in Arlington. She and her husband, Michael, were vacationing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. when a car careened out of control and killed her and their unborn child.
DeMella had won an essay contest at her church, and the prize was an all-expenses paid three-day marriage seminar.
"We sent them down there for a retreat together, just a time to really enjoy one another and enjoy a mini vacation before the birth of their son. And absolutely shocking to hear what had happened," said Pastor Michael Davis, Genesis Community Church.
“I was just asking my neighbor when she was due, because I knew it was soon,” said Karen Connolly, a neighbor. “She said she’s due in May…and now she’s dead.”
The couple had been lounging by the pool at their hotel when they got up to use the cabana bath. That’s when a car hit a curb and slammed into the building. Her husband was just a few feet away.
“’I was going home to Boston,’ that’s what he kept saying. ‘We’re on our way home,” Darren Gordon, a witness.
It took hours for rescuers to stabilize the building enough to extract the car. The driver is now in stable condition at a hospital, but Alanna DeMella and her unborn baby did not survive.
On Monday, students and staff at the Pierce Elementary School were grieving the loss of their assistant teacher. She worked with the third grade.
“She’s a special person. She endeared herself very quickly, not only for the students but all the teachers and staff. A number of people, including the principal, said really what an outstanding person, a loving, caring and confident person she was,” said Dr. Kathleen Bodie, Superintendent of Arlington Public Schools.
Neighbors in the community where the DeMella’s were getting ready to raise their family said they feel sorry for her surviving husband.
“I can’t even imagine him coming back and seeing other kids in the neighborhood anymore,” said Connolly.
Others are sick over the loss of a vital woman and the mother she will never get to be.
“The worst thing is she’s young, the baby wasn’t born, never had a chance to live a life. That’s what hurts,” said Al Delaria, a neighbor.
The 35-year-old driver of the vehicle has not been charged at this time.
Pastor Davis told 7News there will be a memorial service at Genesis Community Church for Alanna DeMella at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
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