A West Chester University security officer and firefighter was killed on Interstate 95 in Wilmington early Sunday when she got out of her car to help at a crash scene, officials said.
University and fire officials identified the 25-year-old woman as Cecilia Escobar-Duplan.
Escobar-Duplan was driving home from her security shift when she came upon a crash around 4:15 a.m., university police said. She pulled onto an off-ramp and walked into the lane where a Jeep crashed in a construction zone.
As Escobar-Duplan assisted the Jeep driver, she was struck by a pickup truck that was passing by, according to Delaware State Police. Escobar-Duplan died at a hospital and the Jeep driver, who had minor injuries, was treated and released, officials said.
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Weather conditions and lighting kept the pickup driver from seeing the crash ahead, police said. Impairment wasn’t a factor, according to investigators
Escobar-Duplan joined the Wilmington Manor Fire Company in 2018, the company said. She received firefighting and basic medical training, and was “actively riding the ambulance as an apprentice.” Escobar-Duplan also worked as a security guard at West Chester University, where she was studying criminal justice, the company said.
In a statement, university police said Escobar-Duplan had been with the department since 2018.
“Those of us that knew Cecilia know that this is exactly the kind of person she was,” the department said. “Cecilia would always go out of her way to help anyone and everyone in need!”
Monday night, Escobar-Duplan's friends and family gathered to mourn her.
"Nothing stopped her," Mirian Escobar, Escobar-Duplan's sister, told NBC10. "If they told her it was impossible, she would do anything around it to make it possible. And not just for her. For everyone."
Escobar said her sister planned on becoming a police officer one day.
"She was like, 'I'm gonna be it too. It's gonna be me.' That was her dream," Escobar said.
The Wilmington Manor Fire Company honored Escobar-Duplan by dressing each engine and the building with black bunting. A memorial flag will also be at half mast for 30 days.
"When we lose somebody like that, especially somebody capable of doing this business, it really leaves a gap with us," Wilmington Manor Fire Company Acting PIO Dave Carpenter Jr., said. "It leaves a hole in our heart."