Colleagues say a first-grade teacher, who was killed when she was struck by three cars after sliding into a ditch in Northwest Indiana Saturday, was an "exceptional teacher."
Linda Darlington, 42, slid into a ditch around 11:45 p.m. on the shoulder of 109th Avenue near Lane Street while on the way home from socializing with friends.
A newlywed couple, William and Nikki Knight, who were wed just hours earlier, stopped to help Darlington. While Darlington and the groom were standing by the side of the road, they were struck first by a vehicle headed east on 109th, and hit twice more by two vehicles trailing the first, according to the Lake County Sheriff's office.
William Knight, of the 200 block of Oak Street in Crown Point, Ind., and Darlington, of the 1000 block of Mary Ellen Drive in Crown Point, Ind., were pronounced dead at the scene at 12:41 a.m., according to the Lake County Coroner’s office.
They died of blunt force trauma, according to autopsies performed Sunday.
Nikki, a registered nurse, said that from their truck it looked like a car had driven over a lump of snow when she heard a thud. When she went out to the scene, she said, neither Knight nor Darlington had pulses.
Jim Darlington, Linda's husband, said she was always happy and that she will be remembered by her big smile.
Darlington was a first-grade teacher at Joan Martin School and the mother of three children, ages 25, 11 and 9.
The School City of Hobart posted a tribute to Darlington after the crash.
"The School City of Hobart celebrates the life of Mrs. Linda Darlington, First Grade Teacher at Joan Martin School. Mrs. D. was proud to be a Brickie through and through," a post on the school website read. "She was very dedicated to her students and well respected by her colleagues. Her positive energy and attitude was contagious throughout the School City of Hobart. Her passion for children and the love of learning made her an exceptional teacher! Mrs. D's class used technology to showcase their learning. She made the world an incredibly wonderful place. Mrs. Darlington will always be in our hearts."
Police said all drivers involved in the crash remained at the scene. It was unknown if drugs or alcohol were factors in the accident, and no charges had been filed as of Sunday afternoon, according to the sheriff’s office.