‘Victim was protecting her children,’ says friend

tippin elementary school memorial.jpg

Parents arriving at Mary N. Tippin Elementary School said they saw a woman struck and killed in the parking lot as they picked up their students on the first day of school.

The morning after, an El Paso police officer patrolled Bear Ridge Drive ensuring motorists obeyed school zone restrictions.

While KFOX14 was at the school Tuesday they witnessed five vehicles being pulled over and given citations.

KFOX14 spoke with several of the parents after they dropped off their kids for the second day of school.

Parents looked visibly distraught about Monday’s events. One parent said that it could've been anyone who could've been hurt in the parking lot.

Victoria Bruce, a parent who knows the woman that died, said she heard the crash.

“You heard the metal crash so loud that you knew that something awful had happened. Everybody went running over. I kept my kids back because I knew at that point there was nothing I could do and I didn’t want ... [my children] to see whatever had happened. You could hear people shouting is there a doctor or nurse,” said Bruce.

She said first responders arrived but 25 minutes later the crash spectators remained.

“I learned from a close friend that the woman that died was my friend, and she had passed away in protecting her children,” said Bruce.

A small memorial was visible along the sidewalk for the parent who died and the three children who were injured.

“It’s just unthinkable that on the first day of school that this is something the children will never forget," said Bruce, who became emotional during the interview. "Walking into school, all of us, we don’t feel safe at a place. It shouldn’t have never happened.”

El Paso Independent School District police said the victims were struck in front of the west El Paso elementary school.

The driver was an elderly man who was picking up his grandchildren, said EPISD police. He accidentally hit the accelerator instead of the brakes.

“The mom was a single mom who loved her babies. I hope the community comes around,” said Bruce.

A GoFundMe account was set up by a Facebook group, “Moms On Board.”

On Tuesday morning EPISD police and El Paso police were patrolling the school.

The names of those involved in the crash are still unknown.

EPISD officials gave an update about the crash Tuesday at 9 a.m.

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