A teacher's assistant was killed Tuesday morning when she was hit by a car outside the high school where she worked in Allentown, Pennsylvania, police said.
Twenty-five-year-old Angela Yowakim was walking across North Irving Street to Dieruff High School around 6:42 a.m. when she was hit by a driver, Allentown police said.
Police said she died at the hospital a short time later.
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Yowakim’s family said she was a graduate of Dieruff High in 2015 and had worked in the school district since 2019. She was active in the community, volunteering at sports games and helping students with special needs.
“She was always very outgoing,” Mark Yowakim, Angela’s younger brother, said. “She knew everybody, and I would always say ‘who’s that person?' She’s like ‘oh, you don’t know who that person is? That’s so-and-so.”
Yowakim came from a big family of Syrian immigrants. Her father said through tears, “Angela is just like an angel.”
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"I will never understand how I lost my sister at a crosswalk in a school zone," Mark said.
Police and city officials have not released any information about the car or driver involved. It was unknown Wednesday whether the driver stayed on the scene after the crash or whether someone was in custody.
According to the city’s website, there are 49 flashing school warning devices in Allentown. City officials would not respond to NBC10’s question about which of the signs are currently functioning.
The city said they’re still investigating whether the school zone lights outside of Dieruff were working at the time Yowakim walked across North Irving Street to the school. When NBC10 was there around dismissal time Wednesday, the lights were not on.
Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk, Police Chief Charles Roca and Superintendent Dr. John Stanford urged families to be aware of their surroundings around the school campus.
"I hope we can move our community here in Allentown, driver and pedestrians alike, to understand the importance of traffic safety," Tuerk said at a news conference.
The officials also said they’ll be implementing a plan to "keep the streets safer" while the investigation into the fatal crash continues.
The school’s counseling staff will be offering help to both teaching staff and students.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Allentown Police Department Traffic Division at 610-437-7732, ext. 2326 or 610-437-7751.