UPDATE: NW Whitfield teacher identified as victim in fatal crash on Interstate 24E
Chattanooga police have identified the woman killed in a crash that occurred on I-24 Sunday night.
UPDATE: Police identified the victim killed in Sunday night's crash on I-24 near downtown Chattanooga as 43-year-old Dawn Alexander.
She was a special education teacher at Northwest Whitfield High School and the news of her sudden death is hitting students and teachers hard.
The crash happened around 7 o'clock, shutting down the interstate for several hours. Investigators say her Cadillac Escalade was traveling south on Highway 27 near the Lookout Mountain exit in Chattanooga , approaching the left curve to Interstate 24 eastbound, when she hit a Toyota Prius. The collision caused the Cadillac to go up an embankment and roll several times, ejecting her from the vehicle. Police say she died at the scene.
Students and teachers say Dawn Alexander was a loving mother who had a big heart for kids in her classroom.
"They're doing okay of course this was a very big shock," said Principal Britt Adams. " I think often times you know you're never ready for these things."
Dawn worked exclusively with 10 or 12 students in every classroom and although she was only at the school for less than a year, principal Adams says she made a big impact in a short amount of time.
"I think so many kids she found were so just beat down sometimes because of their home life or other things maybe out of their control," said Adams.
She had a gift in helping students believe in themselves.
"They could always be in control of their effort, they can always be in control of how they tried and I think that was the thing she really wanted to get across was you can do these things but you've gotta try and try hard," said Adams.
It's a lesson that 's now one of her many legacies.
"She's got five kids and you know my heart and prayers go out to them, trying to run around 5 kids is a full time job in itself but she loved each and everyone of them to the moon and back and so I really really feel for them. You know losing a teacher is one thing, losing a mom is something else," said Adams.
Friends say she loved her kids more than anything else in the world. She was their number one fan, their rock and their hero.
"I know she would have wanted them to go on and strive and be the best person that they could possible be," said Adams. "She will be missed."
The principal says that grief counselors will be made available as long as they are needed. The driver of the Prius had no reported injuries. Funeral arrangements for Dawn Alexander have not yet been announced.
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Chattanooga Police have stopped all eastbound traffic while traffic investigators determine the cause of the crash and to allow medical personnel to attend to those involved.
If you are traveling eastbound on I-24, you should seek an alternate route.