As students headed back to school at Mary N. Tippin Elementary in Texas this week, parents and kids grieved the loss of Kharisma James, 33, who died Monday after saving three children, including her own two, from a speeding car in the school parking lot.
James was hit while attempting to shield the students — ages 6, 7, and 10 — from a car driven by a disoriented man, who had apparently pressed the accelerator instead of the brakes, the El Paso Times first reported.
School district police Chief Victor Araiza told reporters at a press conference Tuesday that James had first tried to “get the attention of the driver and intervene,” before stepping into the car’s path.
“Basically, what we had occur is a driver that was pulling out of a parking space struck another vehicle,” Araiza said. “When he struck that vehicle, apparently, it seems he became somewhat disoriented, he continued out into the roadway of the parking lot, [and] he struck three children.”
Authorities identified the driver as a 58-year-old man, who was picking up his grandchildren.
Victoria Bruce, a parent and friend of James who was at the scene of the accident at the time, told local media that she heard the “metal crash” and that “everybody went running over.”
“You knew that something awful had happened,” she said.
The injured three children were transported to nearby hospitals, and Araiza said officials would conduct a full investigation but that no charges had been filed.
“It sounds like the driver was disoriented and confused,” Araiza said. “We don’t know if the driver was having a medical issue. We just don’t know yet.”