New Jersey

Separate Traffic Crashes Claim South Jersey Teacher Who Was Jogging & Her Student Days Apart

A middle school teacher was remembered as warm and caring a day after being struck and killed while jogging along a South Jersey road.

A Chevrolet pickup truck struck Allison McGinnis, known by friends and family as "Allie," as she ran along U.S. Route 206 near Garden Street in Southampton around 2 p.m. Thursday.

McGinnis, who was 29, was entering her second year teaching English and language arts to seventh an eight graders at Helen Fort/Newcomb Middle School, said Pemberton Township Schools.

"Allison swept into Helen Fort like a ray of sunshine," said colleague Debra Kerner. "No one was left untouched by the warmth of her smile. In the year that Allison was here she positively affected the lives of every student and staff member.”

McGinnis' death came just one week after student Janiya Castleberry -- someone McGinnis taught -- died following an Aug. 2 car crash also in Southampton. Janiya was just 13.

McGinnis, who received a teaching masters from Rowan University previously worked at Authentic Education in Hopewell and at Lindenwold Middle School.

On her district teaching page she spoke about the impact she believed teachers can have on young lives. "I firmly believe that teachers are able to make powerful, positive changes to their teaching that allows all students the ability to access learning, understanding, and achievement."

"Our hearts go out to the family, friends, students and fellow colleagues of Allie McGinnis," said Superintendent Tony Trongo. "Our close-knit community will get through this by supporting one another. On behalf of the board of education, our entire school district, myself and my family, I would like to express our sincere condolences to all those affected by this loss."

The district said that students who had McGinnis as a teacher would get a personal phone call from a staff member and that counseling would be available at the middle school on Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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The district said that a vigil to honor both McGinnis and Janiya will be held following McGinnis' funeral.

The crash also killed David Eldridge, of Wrightstown, who was a passenger in the truck, said New Jersey State Police Sgt. Jeff Flynn. Medics airlifted driver Patrick Miller, of New Hanover to Cooper University Hospital where was treated for a serious injury.

The force o the crash caused the pickup to overturn and land in a wooded area off the roadway.

No charges were immediately filed as police continued to investigate the incident Friday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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